Preparing Healthcare Facilities for Emergency Situations
Louisiana is all too familiar with the tragedy that an emergency situation can bring. Natural disasters such as hurricanes and floods are common in our state, and hospitals and healthcare facilities need to prepare to address the challenges for continuing care to our residents during these difficult situations.
What can your healthcare facility do to be ready when threatened by a hurricane?
- Review and test the healthcare facility’s emergency operations plan, including their process on notifying patients and staff of closure or altered hours.
- Update contact information for staff, community partners, etc.
- Prepare your staff members in advance of an emergency to ensure they are familiar with their assigned roles and procedures during an emergency situation.
- Prepare for power loss. If your facility does not have a generator, confirm agreements (written) with pharmacies, hospitals or other clinics regarding the transfer and storage of your clinic’s refrigerated medications or vaccines. If your facility has a generator, test it to ensure it works properly and have the supplies needed to use the generator.
- Have a clearly labeled “emergency to-go” bag that contains items such as a weather radio, jump drive for important documents and lists (such as contact lists) that may be needed, flashlight and PPE, such as masks and gloves, etc.
The team at Well-Ahead Louisiana, through our Provider Education Network, provides access to trainings, guidance and technical assistance that will help your hospital or healthcare facility act quickly and cohesively to protect the wellbeing of your patients in an emergency situation.
Stay up-to-date and connected with emergency updates and contacts!
Training to Prepare for Emergency Situations
The state requires all Rural Health Clinics (RHCs) to participate in two emergency preparedness trainings each year and have a written emergency plan. Within the emergency plan, all staff members are to be knowledgeable of:
- Their assigned role
- Who to contact for the clinic including community responders and state contacts
- Methods of communication to use in the event of a disaster
- Gathering and storing important documents and essential supplies
For training opportunities, the Louisiana Department of Health, in partnership with Well-Ahead and the Louisiana Rural Health Association, has an annual emergency preparedness training series that hospitals and healthcare facilities can participate in. In addition, Well-Ahead hosts tabletop exercises and workshops that prepare participants on handling specific emergency situations; including hurricanes, fires, active shooters, civil disturbances and personal threats.
If you need assistance in completing a Hazard Vulnerability Analysis, developing an Emergency Operations Plan or conducting a Facility Specific Exercise, fill out this form at the bottom of the page to connect with our team.
Virtual Emergency Preparedness Lunch and Learn Training Series
The Louisiana Department of Health provides educational emergency preparedness trainings to medical facilities and interested parties. All healthcare partners, including RHCs, FQHCs, critical access hospitals and small rural hospitals, are encouraged to attend.
In lieu of the annual face-to-face ESF8 Hurricane Summit, a hurricane zoom series was scheduled. This zoom series included briefs from other State Agency/ESF leads on a range of topics. Click to view each recording:
- June 15, 2021: Vulnerable Populations
- Objectives: To review the roles and responsibilities and resources available provided by organizations such as Louisiana’s Emergency Management Disability and Aging Coalition and the Network 13 Dialysis System. To provide information on the Office of Behavioral Health’s programs. To provide a review of the OAAS and OCDD Program and Support Coordinators System.
- June 8, 2021: GOHSEP & ESF8 Partner State Agency Updates
- Objectives: To provide an update from State Agencies such as DOTD’s buses, Task Force Bus; Pet Plan and Fuel Plan.
- May 25, 2021: Sheltering
- Objectives: To provide a shelter update on 2021 hurricane season to include: Unified Shelter Plan, state-operated sites, sequence of fill; feeding, wrap-around services, etc.
- May 11, 2021: Mass Fatality & Cemetery Reinternment
- Objectives: To recap Hurricane Laura response activities, Cemetery Reinternment Task Force and the Mass Fatality Plan.
- May 4, 2021: EMS Surge Ambulance Plan
- Objectives: To provide an update on EMS Surge Plan, Operations, and related contracts.
Additional Emergency Preparedness Trainings
Postworkshop Learning Session: Active Shooter Training
December 8, 2021 at 1 p.m.
This will be a true interactive workshop that will be delivered at the 2021 Virtual Rural Health Workshop. Participants will be guided through each scenario while determining how their facility would respond.
Facility Fire Tabletop Exercise
September 28, 2021
Participants will be guided through a facility fire scenario while challenging the facility’s emergency operations plan. Registration is required. This exercise will:
- Reveal planning weaknesses in the facility’s Emergency Operations Plan
- Identify current capabilities
- Improve the coordination between and among various response personnel
- Increase the general awareness and understanding of the potential hazard
Hurricane Tabletop Exercise
June 22, 2021, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.
Click here to access presentation resources. Participants were guided through a hurricane-based scenario. This exercise:
- Revealed planning weaknesses in the facility’s Emergency Operations Plan
- Identified current capabilities
- Improved the coordination between and among various response personnel
- Increased the general awareness and understanding of the potential hazard
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is providing information and guidance for emergency managers and public health officials on FEMA plans to adapt hurricane response and recovery operations related to COVID-19.
Need Assistance? Connect with Us!
These resources that may valuable to your facility in the event of a natural disaster. We encourage you to share these resources with your staff and patients.
- Emergency Preparedness Checklist for Providers: The Emergency Preparedness Checklist provides a breakdown of recommended tasks and can be utilized as a tool for effective emergency planning.
- Kaiser Permanente Medical Center Hazard and Vulnerability Analysis (Emergency Preparedness): The Hazard and Vulnerability Analysis (HVA) for emergency preparedness planning can be used to determine the types of disasters clinics may face. The worksheets provide a method to rate the possibilities of natural disasters, technological hazards, human hazards, and hazardous material that may impact the clinic.
- Sample Emergency Preparedness Plan for RHCs or FQHCs: The Emergency Preparedness Plan for RHCs or FQHCs provides a guidance for facility staff members before, during, and after any type of emergency crisis.
- Sample Medical Center Hazard Vulnerability Analysis: The Hazard Vulnerability Analysis is a tool health facilities can use to determine their risk factor for specific emergencies/disasters. The sample provides an opportunity to evaluate every potential event in each of the three categories of probability, risk, and preparedness. Note: This document is not a substitute for the Emergency Operations plan but instead helps to determine the top three emergency situations a clinic may face.
- Get a Game Plan: Louisiana Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness
- Keeping your facility afloat during a natural disaster or emergency situation can be difficult without a plan. Utilize this link to help plan in advance to manage any emergency condition and keep your facility operating.