Nearly two months into the 2014 season, long-range forecasters at Colorado State University’s Tropical Meteorology Project appear to be right on target about severe weather patterns in the U.S. with only one hurricane making landfall (Hurricane Arthur) so far and only a second in development.
With the stormy summer season a relatively quiet one — for the moment — there’s no better time than the present to work on your facility’s emergency preparedness checklist.
To that end, the American Society for Healthcare Engineering (ASHE) recently issued a bulletin reminding members about highlighted additions and changes to the Centers for Medicare and Medicare Services’ (CMS) emergency preparedness checklist, a tool the organization endorses to improve planning.
What follows are summaries of those alterations.
Developing an Evacuation Plan
Procedures to be followed if a patient or resident is missing during an evacuation:
- Notify their family, local law enforcement and the nursing home administration and staff.
- Ensure all patients or residents are wearing an identification wristband.
- Outline the process by which residents/patients are tracked as they arrive at their destination.
- Spell out if family members of staffers can be sheltered or evacuated at the facility.
- Transport one gallon of water per person and logistical support described.
Reviewing the Emergency Plan
Refer to updates and new information issued by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for help in keeping your emergency plans up-to-date.
Emergency Planning Templates
In addition to completing emergency planning templates, facilities managers should adapt them to fit their geographic locations and specific needs.
Collaboration with Local Emergency Management Agencies and Healthcare Coalitions
Work with healthcare providers — nursing homes, hospices, home care agencies, dialysis centers and hospitals — at the local and state levels to incorporate plans of other entities in order to increase medical response capabilities overall.
Practicing to succeed
The most important things to remember about emergency plans aren’t necessarily how often you and your staff recall the fine details, but how your team practices them, says William B. Copes, Vanguard Resources’ Vice President of Business Development and a certified emergency responder.
“Practice, practice, practice is critical. If you don’t fail during the exercise, you really aren’t exercising the emergency operations plan,” Copes says.
Watch how Copes and the staff at Centennial Medical Center in Frisco, Texas, execute a disaster preparedness plan in part one of this series of eight YouTube videos.
For help with developing an effective disaster preparedness plan at your healthcare facility, contact Vanguard Resources.