Last week, we wrote about the importance of getting senior management support for Crisis Management planning. This week, we’re highlighting a recent article about disaster preparation for medical facilities, as we think the learning points transfer nicely to other venues.
Findlay All Hazards offers numerous workshops for Public Health Administrators and Medical First Receivers. And, even if you work outside of the medical arena, it’s still a good idea to learn a little about how hospitals should prepare for major disasters, since the example can be employed in other organizations.
Writing for Healthcare Dive, Scott Cormier of Medxcel Facilities Management presents these five components to effective emergency management:
- • Clear Communication
- • Comprehensive Training
- • Knowledge of Assets
- • Technology Fail-Safes and Protocol
- • Leadership Involvement
Applying this list to any organization should be worthwhile. Without each component, no one can expect to handle an emergency as confidently as they might if each category was thoroughly managed.
Cormier writes that communication, in disaster situations, takes two forms. First, there is communication with the public. It’s important to present correct information to the community. This approach not only helps prevent inaccurate stories from misrepresenting the situation, but builds trust between the public and your team.
Just as important is good communication in internal channels. As Cormier notes, “To effectively manage an emergency, all personnel must be on the same page.” Do you have a plan in place to communicate status and required actions to your staff during emergencies? Without one, the EHS manager’s job gets much harder.
Training your team for emergencies is, of course, where Findlay excels. But if your training activities do not include tight coordination with local emergency services, such training is incomplete. Dire events will then be far more complex and dangerous as internal and external services will lack synchronization.
And what assets do you have on hand for emergency support when local authorities cannot be of immediate service to you? Review your emergency cache of medical supplies and water, as well as your shelter spaces. Are these adequate to support your staff if emergency services cannot arrive at your facility promptly?
In almost any modern workspace today, a loss of technology will bring the facility to a standstill. In a disaster, a tech failure could also worsen the situation. As Cormier says, “A business continuity plan helps to identify the hardware, software, space and other resources that each area of your facility requires to remain operational.” This is particularly crucial for hospitals, naturally, but consider what might happen if your EHS department is without technical infrastructure during a crisis.
Cormier concludes his piece by stressing the importance of senior management’s participation in emergency planning: “…leadership must understand the importance of a strong emergency management program and devote the proper resources towards disaster preparations.” As we stressed last week in Tuesday Training, getting your management on-board when planning for the unknown is essential. What experience do you have with emergency situations? What about others on your EHS team or your associates in security? Relating past experiences to your top managers helps them understand how an emergency might cripple operations and injure employees, contractors, or customers.
Findlay All Hazards serves medical administrators and front-line staff through workshops like Public Health and First Receiver Preparedness. Findlay also trains and consults the full spectrum of corporate and community emergency managers through courses such as Crisis Management for Business and Industry.