Hospital Emergency Evacuation, Assessment and Recovery

2010 Jun 27 Posted by Charles

I just received the newsletter below from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Please contact Jennifer for additional information: or 301-427-1859

Deciding whether or not and when to evacuate a hospital during an emergency situation can be a daunting one, as can the decision of when it is safe to return after the event. New resources from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality are available to help hospital administrators and facility planners make these critical decisions.

The “Hospital Evacuation Decision Guide” walks users through the process of deciding when to evacuate, shelter in place, or defer and reassess as the situation evolves. It distinguishes between “pre-event evacuations”—which are undertaken in advance of an impending disaster (such as a storm) when the hospital structure and surrounding environment are not yet significantly compromised—and “post-event evacuations,” which are carried out after a disaster has damaged a hospital or the surrounding community. The guidance draws upon expert panel experiences as well as lessons learned from past events including the Northridge, CA, earthquake of 1994; the Three Mile Island nuclear reactor incident of 1979; and Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005. Included is a self-assessment worksheet to help hospitals consider the critical infrastructure issues that affect a decision to evacuate.

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3 Responses to “Hospital Emergency Evacuation, Assessment and Recovery”

stephen Phillipe Says:

I am interested in this topic. I have just now downlooaded the associated paper and I will read it tomorrow, assuming that I have the time to do so. I am the deputy director of Louisiana’s Bureau of EMS and as such I am involved in the evacuation of local hpospitals, nursing homes and the citizens of impacted areas. Because of this responsibility I have a deep seated interest in the decision making process for the decdision to evacuate. I for one, on a general basis, believe mor ein target gardening with a balance of limited evacuations.
I have also experienced the evacuation process during the HGurricane Katrina, Rita, Gustav, and Ike events which impacted the Louisiana Coast and citizens. I served as the incident commander for medical special needs patients for the Superdome during Hurricane Katrina. I do not take the decision to evacuate lightly nor do I believe that an unnecessary evacuation is what is best for the patient or ill individual. I welcome some educated communication on this subject.

John Means Says:

After reading the Hospital Evacuation Plan the primary question that I have is why not move the walking wounded and less fragile first?

This could be especially advantagous during the pre-event evacuations. This type of priority would be in line with general triage principles. It would also allow for the greater number of evacuations to be carried out in vehicles such as buses, with the fewest number of medical professionals involved.

D. Scot Reeves Says:

As an alumni of Capella with the Master’s Degree in Public Safety, Emergency and Disaster Management; and someone who has a degree in nursing, I have been waiting to for some time for this ‘nitch’ to come along. I am still waiting to find that career opportunity; however, living in Iowa, I have been through many experiences of this type and often wonder many of the same questions: “why not evacuate some of the less critical ahead of schedule, why not notify local cooperative institutions such as care facilities that there may be a need for a cooperative effort of care, and yet, when the sirens go off, and rain water rises, and funnel clouds drop, we still act suprised that we are not ready. I like this article and the method in which they lay out the decision process. Perhaps a continued method of communal cooperation that would involve a large trained public volunteer pool would benefit in times such as these. Large scale, short time span evacuation involves large groups of organized individuals.

Thank you for your time,

Scot Reeves, RN, MS

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