November 04, 2009 | | Comments 0
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Be wary about using fire drills as emergency management tests

I was recently asked whether fire drills could count towards The Joint Commission’s requirements for emergency management tests under EM.03.01.03.

I suppose if you evaluated a fire drill to the extent called for under EM.03.01.03, including monitoring of the key response capabilities, you might — and I can not emphasize enough “might” — be able to use a fire drill to fulfill the provisions.

But if an internal fire is not high on your hazard vulnerability analysis (HVA) list, then you could expect a fair amount of pushback during survey if you use a fire drill as an emergency management test.

The HVA is the real driver when it comes to planning exercise scenarios, and if fire doesn’t measure up (and I imagine most organizations would not be particularly vulnerable to fire, although that is clearly the call of the hospital), then you would have a lot of ‘splaining to do.

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Steve MacArthur About the Author: Steve MacArthur is a safety consultant with The Greeley Company in Danvers, Mass. He brings more than 30 years of healthcare management and consulting experience to his work with hospitals, physician offices, and ambulatory care facilities across the country. He is the author of HCPro's Hospital Safety Director's Handbook and is contributing editor for Briefings on Hospital Safety. Contact Steve at stevemacsafetyspace@gmail.com.

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