Fires in hospital facilities are serious events that pose a significant risk to patients, visitors and staff. The frequency and severity of fire events in hospitals are decreasing, but even a small fire that’s quickly extinguished can harm patients and impact operations. Significant focus is placed on a facility’s fire detection and suppression systems, which are designed to notify emergency forces and control or extinguish the fire. In the same way facilities are continuously evaluating fire suppression and detection systems, they should also be evaluating staff’s confidence in their ability to respond to a fire emergency.
Staff evaluation can be expanded beyond a binary “pass/fail” system by using pre-drill and post-drill staff surveys to gauge staff’s confidence in their ability to respond to a fire emergency. These pre-drill and post-drill surveys should utilize questions with Likert scale responses such as “not confident,” “slightly confident,” “neutral,” “confident” and “very confident.” These responses should have corresponding numerical values to allow for streamlined data analysis. Pre-drill and post-drill surveys should also be identical so that an increase or decrease in reported confidence can be measured.
Surveys can be customized with questions specific to an organization’s fire response procedure. For example, questions can ask about staff’s confidence level in regard to items like notification, medical gas shut-off, extinguisher use and evacuation routes. Questions can be added for specialized areas that have unique features, like imaging or operating rooms. Additional sections can be added to include demographic information of participants, like shift or job title, or to ask staff what methods of training (e.g., videos, drills and classroom) they would prefer in the future.
Conducting both a pre-drill and a post-drill survey accomplishes two main objectives: measuring staff confidence before a drill occurs and measuring the change in staff confidence after a drill occurs. Pre-drill confidence levels will provide insight into the effectiveness of previous training, knowledge retention and the current level of staff readiness. Post-drill confidence levels will provide insight into the effectiveness of the drill and indicate areas of weakness that should be focused on during future drills and training initiatives to ensure continuous improvement.