Severe storms and flooding that last month ravaged the state of South Carolina once again brought to mind the devastating effects extreme weather can have on regions and the ability of health care organizations to serve them.
One defense against such threats is employing “resilient design” strategies to resist the forces most likely to be brought to bear against a given facility. Beyond such fortifications, however, most health care organizations rely on emergency planning to answer the challenges meted out by increasingly erratic weather patterns.
In South Carolina, a boil water advisory and low water pressure in the Columbia area forced five hospitals to get water from the fire department, according to the South Carolina Hospital Association. Charleston-area hospitals also dealt with staff shortages due to transportation and road closures in the area.
While such circumstances may seem daunting, leading health care organizations have made help available on the Web.
The Joint Commission’s emergency management portal offers a number of resources as well as links to outside groups and case histories on hospitals’ emergency management efforts. Though much broader, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s emergency preparedness and response site also is worth digging through for useful tips.
Likewise, Health & Human Services’ (HHS’) office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response operates the newly launched Technical Resources, Assistance Center and Information Exchange (TRACIE) site as well as the HHS Response and Recovery Resources Compendium.
Some narrower resources include HHS’ Disaster Information Management Research Center, which emphasizes electronic communication capabilities; the American Hospital Association’s Emergency Readiness page, which concentrates on advocacy issues; and the National Fire Protection Association’s emergency preparedness page, which is more consumer oriented.
Do you have a favorite emergency management site? Below are some links to the resources I’ve mentioned as well as a comment feature for you to share sites you find particularly helpful.
Need more information? Go to the sources
The resources mentioned in this column can be accessed through the links below:
• Joint Commission’s emergency management portal: www.jointcommission.org/emergency_management.aspx
• Centers for Disease Control & Prevention’s emergency preparedness and response: http://emergency.cdc.gov/index.asp
• Health & Human Services Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response’s technical resources, assistance center and information exchange (TRACIE) site: https://asprtracie.hhs.gov/
• Health & Human Services Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response’s HHS Response and Recovery Resources Compendium: www.phe.gov/emergency/hhscapabilities/Pages/default.aspx
• Health & Human Services’ Disaster Information Management Research Center: http://sis.nlm.nih.gov/dimrc.html
• American Hospital Association’s Emergency Readiness page: www.aha.org/advocacy-issues/emergreadiness/index.shtml
• National Fire Protection Association emergency preparedness page: http://www.nfpa.org/safety-information/for-consumers/emergency-preparedness