Health Facilities Management’s (HFM’s) readers once again found themselves on the front lines of a major crisis last month as the Ebola virus became the latest in a series of emergency management challenges faced by U.S. hospitals.

Unlike past natural disasters that have put our engineering and construction subscribers at the center of the action, this recent biological threat has initially centered on our readers in the environmental services (ES) and infection prevention areas.

Indeed, the detailed planning needed to carry out even the most fundamental cleaning, waste disposal and personal protection tasks has required these professionals to collaborate with each other and with clinical staff to a level previously unimagined.

Moreover, the key role that ES is playing further establishes the department as part of the care team steeped in the same rigorously applied scientific approaches as its clinical colleagues.

Standing closely behind these front-line workers to provide resources, advice and an ever-expanding roster of checklists, guidelines and directories is health care’s thick carpet of agencies, societies and associations, as noted on Page 6 of this issue.

HFM also added to this information through our newsletters and Twitter feed as well as previous coverage in our publication.

As of this writing, the crisis is still very much underway, with many questions to be answered and challenges to overcome. Those unaffected by the current situation would be wise to review emergency plans, check supply chains and exercise communication strategies.

Like H1N1 and SARS before it, Ebola is only the latest of an alarming number of biological threats jumping continents in our increasingly globalized world.