Hospital Disaster Preparedness: Your Guide to Getting Started
Helpful information for individuals who are new to disaster preparedness

Whether you are new to the role of disaster preparedness within your hospital or have been in your position for a while, the content of this section can provide assistance and clarification on the responsibilities and expectations associated with this role.

There are no educational, training standards or formal competencies for hospital emergency preparedness staff. However, the following activities can help to get you in your role:

  • Educate yourself on the licensing, regulation and accreditation requirements of emergency preparedness such as The Joint Commission and the National Incident Management System
  • Review your organization’s current Emergency Management Program and its Emergency Operations Plan as well as related policies and procedures
  • Know when to activate your emergency operations plan and hospital command cente
  • Learn your organization’s alert and notification system and procedures
  • Review and take advantage of resources available on this website to develop or review your EOP and related emergency preparedness plans
  • Ensure your organization has a business continuity/continuity of operations plan
  • Review your organization’s Hazard Vulnerability Analysis (HVA); ensure it considers your community’s HVA
  • Review past safety/emergency management committee meeting minutes
  • Develop relationships and with other hospital disaster coordinators; in particular those in your area
  • Identify and develop relationships with your community response partners such as EMS, Public Health, other healthcare facilities, fire and Law Enforcement
  • Identify how you be will be notified by your local response partners
  • Identify contact information for community response partners and hospital contacts for use in an emergency/crisis situation and ensure they have up to date contact information for your facility
  • Become familiar with the local incident management process and the state response system known as SEMS
  • Develop a relationship and contact information with the local MHOAC (Medical Health Operational Area Coordinator) or government point of medical emergency contact for your area
  • Get training on the Hospital Incident Command System (HICSi) or other ICS
  • Attend corporate/system or hospital emergency preparedness meetings
  • Attend local community emergency preparedness and/or disaster planning meetings
  • Primary considerations when responding to a disaster are the relationships developed and knowing your resources (equipment, supplies and staff) both internally and externally. Maintain contact information for key individuals
  • Educate hospital staff on the plan and practice, practice, practice. The more familiar everyone is with roles and responsibilities the higher your degree of success
  • Establish a schedule of drills and exercises to practice the plan, including participation with community partners in community or statewide exercises; use the results of these activities to improve your EOP and response
  • Prepare yourself! Develop your own personal/family plan; encourage all employees to have personal/family plans. Vital to any organization’s preparedness is well-prepared staff /workforce