Emergency preparedness includes both disaster planning and reaction. The World Health Organization (WHO) defines a disaster as a sudden occurrence of such a size that it overwhelms the resources of a hospital, region, or location, necessitating outside assistance.
A disaster, according to this definition, can be as large as the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, or as tiny as a single patient with an infectious disease. The type of occurrence, timing, severity of disease or injuries, local preparedness, and available resources all play a role in defining a disaster.
Internal or external disasters are both types of disasters. Internal disasters are defined as occurrences that occur within the hospital’s walls, such as an active shooter, a power loss, or radiation exposure.
Emergency preparedness spans a wide range of disciplines in both hospital and community settings. Public safety, facilities, logistics, pharmacy, transportation, clinical patient care, non-clinical patient care, media/public relations, communications, radiation, infection control, and administration should all be addressed by planning membership groups.
In an ongoing or continuous process of evaluation and training, these key personnel must build particular plans to handle the institution or region they serve in order to prioritize resources to manage the most severe disasters they may face.
There are three major stages of emergency preparedness:
Planning and prevention focuses on providing catastrophe protection on both the local and international levels in order to decrease fatalities and lessen the cost effect of disaster response. Care, evacuation, and environmental planning and response criteria are all part of the planning process. In March 2015, the United Nations implemented the Sendai Framework, which focuses on “reducing catastrophe risks, preventing new hazards, limiting existing disaster risks, and increasing community and global disaster resilience.”
Risk assessment identifies areas of high priority and vulnerability and focuses on mitigating measures. The purpose of risk assessment is to identify potential disasters that may threaten the area, including both internal and external disasters, to collect resource inventory, to identify a facility’s or region’s vulnerabilities based on location and resources, and to provide a prioritized list.
A single facility’s risk assessment should identify both known natural disasters in the area as well as potential mass casualty events, understand facility capabilities in relation to the patient population, identify vulnerabilities such as specialty coverage or transportation, and prioritize priorities such as limiting the loss of life.
Measures made to prepare for a calamity are referred to as preparedness. FEMA provides broad preparedness requirements for facilities that include nonperishable food, water, and power.
Putting together a response team requires clearly defined leaders, positions, and responsibilities that address important challenges in emergency response.
Writing an emergency plan— A written emergency response plan outlines the overall approach for dealing with a crisis once it occurs. For the emergency plan to be properly implemented when the time comes, the documented emergency response plan should be tailored to specific sorts of disasters, with precise processes, as well as identified leaders and training schedules.
Emergency Response: The response phase is concerned with carrying out the disaster plan. Emergency response planning includes preparation at the facility, regional, and national levels. The first priority is to meet the basic humanitarian requirements of the impacted population while also limiting the loss of life.
The kind of medical care available will ultimately be determined by the sort of disaster. Coordination of efforts between a facility and regional response is a significant challenge throughout the response phase, especially when demand exceeds the facility’s capacity.
The National Response Framework is a United States government blueprint for a national catastrophe response that defines duties at the local, state, and federal levels that can be integrated into the response process. There are two sorts of responses in general:
In its most basic form, shelter in place entails finding a secure area within the bounds of the facility and remaining there until the “all clear” is given. At the facility level, this entails caring for those who have been harmed using the resources that are immediately available.
Evacuation means leaving the disaster-affected facility or region. Depending on the scenario, resources may be retained or transferred as needed.
Salvage and Recovery: The salvage and recovery phase happens after the initial response has been determined, the immediate threat to human life has been controlled, and efforts are underway to return the facility or area to normal operational function as soon as possible. The most severe conditions might include persistent combat situations or long-term epidemics that impede salvage and rehabilitation for years.
In the United States, emergency management is overseen by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which is part of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Initially, all disasters are managed at the local level by facility groups, police, fire, and EMS.
When local authorities are overburdened, disaster management is transferred to the state level, with FEMA serving as a supporting agency rather than an authoritative leader. FEMA divides the country and its territory into ten regions.
The Citizen Corps is a voluntary organization dedicated to educating and training the general population in disaster response. These services are provided on a local level and are coordinated by DHS.
In the event of a terror-related tragedy, the Secretary of Homeland Security initiates the National Response Framework (NRF), which integrates federal resources with state and local resources for resource management at the most basic level feasible.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides education and information about specific sorts of disasters, such as infectious diseases, chemical and radiation exposure, and natural disasters or weather-related accidents.