November 09, 2012 | | Comments 2
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96 Tears – 96 Hours – 96 Response Plans – You’re gonna cry – cry, cry, cry!

I was doing some work at a client facility recently and happened to be on site when these folks were entertaining the representative from their property insurer. While there was lots of discussion about processes for managing fire alarm and sprinkler system impairments (might be worth checking with your property insurer for their definition of an impairment – might be a little more restrictive than you might think, especially if you are using the 4-hour timeframe identified in the Life Safety Code / TJC standards), which I expected, there was a little more attention paid to emergency response plans, particularly in relation to utility systems failures, primarily as a function of business continuity.

The rep was really keen to see the organization’s detailed response plans for the normally-anticipated failures and it prompted the thought that, in these days of the (at least somewhat) monolithic 96-hour assessment/response plan dynamic, whether we’re best served by having really in-depth, specific response plans, or if we’re better off with what amounts to a bullet list of strategies for managing the risks and vulnerabilities inherent in a particular failure event. So my question to you is this: How “deep” do your response plans go? Are we talking lots of details or is it more or less a response framework that requires a little more intuition/familiarity on the part of your incident commander?

I know that the structure and content of response plans have evolved (mutated?) over the past 10 years or so, but I’d be hard pressed to be able to quantify the improvements (I’m certain that there have been improvements – but I can’t say how I “know” this). Or, in the vernacular of this year’s presidential race, if we are better off than we were 10 years ago – how can we “prove” that improvement?

What say you?

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Filed Under: Emergency managementLife Safety Code


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

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  1. We are in the process of holding our 2nd Annual 96 hour No Support Tabletop where No Support means NO SUPPORT from the outside including no electricty & no presurrized potable water which is important to those of us with sizeable patient populations requiring dialysis. The result of our No Support tabletop will be a department specific house wide loss of water plan to enable us to supply acute medical care for the 96 hours.

  2. I am a proponent of critical thinking skills by the Incident Commander, chiefs, etc… in an emergency situation. We have a 96-hour Operational Impact Chart that is reviewed annually along with the EOP. This chart allows anyone to visually see our capabilities for self-sustaining over a period of time. In addition it shows our ability to replenish supplies based upon MOUs etc… TJC complemented us on it at our last triennial in 2010.

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