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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?

Generators act as protagonists in a Katrina-themed court case

I wrote an article for HCPro’s sister company, HealthLeaders Media, about a trial going on in New Orleans that, believe it or not, may connect a patient death following Hurricane Katrina to poor emergency generator system design.

How many times have you either personally experienced or read about post-drill critiques that recommend infrastructure changes due to emergency power concerns? I hear about it [more]

Most of you are well prepared for disaster response, but there’s always the unpredictable event

I really think — this being my ever so humble opinion based on my observations — that most hospitals are adequately prepared to respond to the emergencies they have identified as being the most likely to occur.

That’s not to say there are not improvement opportunities, because there will always be [more]

The challenges that tie healthcare facilities back to 9/11

Back in 2001, I remember talking to quite a few hospital safety officers and emergency planners about the way the world had changed after 9/11. It wasn’t just the hijacked jets in New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania — soon after, the nation was in the midst of anthrax attacks via the mail and there was also concern about potential smallpox bioterrorism.

Yet I re-read some of the articles I wrote at the time and was struck by [more]

Evaluating your emergency management inventory process

Joint Commission standard EM.03.01.01, EP 3 requires an annual review of your emergency management inventory process.

This is where you look back at exercises and real events and see [more]

New York Times story is a “must read” for emergency planners

The New York Times just published a sad yet enlightening account of what happened at Memorial Medical Center in New Orleans in the days after Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005.

Many of you will remember that Memorial Medical was isolated and without power for days as employees and patients suffered through terrible conditions in the sweltering heat. Much of the story focused on allegations of clinicians euthanizing [more]

H1N1 pandemic will test your supply chains

Hi, it’s Scott Wallask. I read this passage in today’s Boston Globe about medical supplies to battle H1N1 swine flu:

Some hospitals said shelves usually brimming with surgical masks, used to slow the virus’ transmission, turned barren [more]

EOP Webcast on Tuesday at 1 p.m. Eastern

There’s still time to register for Tuesday’s Webcast, “Five Steps To Strengthen Your Emergency Operations Plan.”

The progam begins at 1 p.m. Eastern and will feature presentations by Jim Kendig, vice president of safety, security, and clinical/courier transportation at Health First in Melbourne, FL, and Chris Bellone, emergency preparedness coordinator at Rockford (IL) Health System.

I think the new couch looks best over by the wall… on second thought, maybe in front of that window…

Well, the never-ending drama of now-you-see-it, now-you-don’t in the world of strategic compliance marches on. Fortunately, my brothers and sisters in safety, the announcement of revised Joint Commission standards is virtually without impact for you (unless of course, you were otherwise occupied when these “changes” first graced our world — if you were, good on you, they’re just as meaningless as they were then).

I’ll default to my CMS logic in noting that none of the changes should have been a surprise to anyone being accredited for the purposes of bellying up to the Medicare/Medicaid bar. These were existing requirements, and, oddly enough, very much in keeping with an appropriately managed, comprehensive safety program, which I know you have because you tune into this blog on a regular basis (I certainly hope it helps, at any rate). [more]

A closer look at The Joint Commission’s 96-hour FAQ

As you may have seen, The Joint Commission released some more FAQs earlier this month. One of them deals with the 96-hour provision under EM.02.01.01, EP 3 by reiterating that The Joint Commission doesn’t expect organizations to have 96-hour capabilities for emergency response efforts.

Rather, The Joint Commission wants each organization [more]