Hospitals are incredibly important resources within a community, and in the case of an unpredictable and devastating disaster, it's crucial that hospital facilities remain organized, operational, and prepared. This means having an effective, well constructed emergency plan in place, capable of dealing with scenarios like natural disasters, terrorist attacks, chemical emergencies, and other events.
Back in 2006, a study published in the journal Prehospital and Disaster Medicine evaluated hospital emergency preparedness for mass casualty incidents (MCIs). These events are almost unthinkable, but the fact that they're possible means that hospitals need to have an emergency preparedness plan in place to deal with them. Furthermore, if a hospital is equipped to handle an MCI, this preparedness plan can form a framework that allows them to handle minor emergencies smoothly and effectively.
The Elements of Hospital Preparedness
The 2006 study outlines nine key elements for hospital emergency preparedness for disasters of all kinds. The authors recommend an annual assessment of emergency plans, focused on these nine important aspects:
- Elements of disaster planning
- Emergency coordination
- Hospital surge capacity
- Personnel availability
- Equipment availability
- Medical supply stockpiles
- Expanded laboratory capacities
Numerous tools are available to hospitals to conduct these annual assessments, including surveys and self-assessment tools.[click to continue...]
Emergency notification systems - or an emergency alert system - in one form or another have been in practice for decades. Older individuals may remember that familiar buzz on the TV or radio, informing you that this was "just a test" to make sure that if an emergency did arise, the American people would be the first to know.
As we have evolved technologically, those systems have lost their effectiveness. MP3's and Music downloads have replaced the radio, and providers like Netflix have made local TV stations practically obsolete. While there are still certain government programs that help to bring emergency notifications to the masses, smaller institutions have found it more effective to instill their own emergency notification system.
There are multiple reasons and benefits for why you should have your own emergency notification system in place before the next disaster strikes:
1) Provide Impending Disaster Preparation Tips and Advice
Emergency notification systems can be used before a crisis to help a community, business, school or church get ready. If you are aware of an impending storm you could use automated emergency notifications to alert people how to stay safe and the location of services that could help them ride it out.[click to continue...]
The only good thing about a blizzard is that you are usually given some notice that it is on its way. This should give you enough time to buy some cocoa, batten down the hatches and light a fire in the fireplace. Follow these tips, and you'll stay safe and warm while the snow is piling on:
1. Add Extra Insulation to Your Windows and Doors
A blizzard does not just bring snow. A blizzard blows freezing cold winds right up to the exterior of your home. If your home is not well insulated, that freezing cold air will make its way into your living space. Reinforce window and door frames by filling in cracks with caulking, or if the entire window is a problem secure a piece of plastic in front of it. Use old towels rolled up as an additional barrier for the space at the bottom of doors that lead outside.[click to continue...]
Cities are made up of diverse groups with various interests and preferences for how they obtain information. With busy schedules, community members have a greater appreciation for comfortable and convenient means of receiving news about what is going on in your city. They also desire being able to have their own views heard.
With modern technology you have more opportunities for fast and cost-effective ways to communicate with your citizens. Whether you are just attempting to reach out and provide information about an upcoming event, or have to share details about major road closures coming up, there are ways to stay in touch and keep people informed that are more reliable than methods of the past.
The Problems with the Community Wide Public Meeting
The community wide public meeting is still utilized by cities and towns across the United States. While effective in some areas it is important to make them comfortable for everyone. Some citizens are intimidated by the formality, because some meetings are being dominated by the same few who have grown comfortable with speaking publicly. Consider the format and make more room in the agenda for discussion, and consider a smaller, casual setting. You can learn a lot about what is happening in the community while standing around a dessert table and sipping on coffee.[click to continue...]
Weather watchers may be getting better each year at forecasting a hurricane, but that does not stop these severe storms from doing serious damage. Homes and businesses close to ocean coastlines are still at risk, no matter how far in advance the weather professionals tell you that there is a storm coming. As with most things in life, being prepared for the worst case scenario is always the best option if you are in an area that is threatened by the possibility of hurricanes and tropical storms.
As hurricane season approaches, you can help protect the safety of your citizens and their property with the following tips:
1. Have Clearly Designated Evacuation Routes
Designate your largest and most easily accessible roads as evacuation routes, just in case a large storm is heading your way. Keep the tree line on these streets 5 or 10 feet back to avoid a fallen tree blocking the way out of town. Mark these routes with orange street signs, and hand out pamphlets at schools and town meetings to ensure that all residents are aware of them.
2. Implement an Emergency Notification Service
If your town does not already have one, then right before hurricane season starts is a good time to sign up for an emergency notification system such as DialMyCalls. This type of system will connect you with one department or your entire town in minutes via phone calls or SMS text messages. It can be used to warn your residents of an impending storm, give them direction if you need to evacuate, and even keep in contact directly with your emergency personnel.[click to continue...]
Leaders of communities both large and small depend on some sort of alert system to deal with a crisis. Whether you are in charge of a small college campus or a major municipality you have the responsibility of protecting that community in the event of an emergency. This is a multi-faceted project that starts with your emergency notification system.
There are more effective and convenient ways today than radio or television broadcasts to relay emergency information, even to groups of thousands. With a mobile device in practically everyone's pocket, this is your best tool to focus on for a successful emergency notification system.
Choose The Right System
Emergencies come in all shapes and sizes calling for an alert system that is versatile. You don't want to create the same type of reaction for a scheduled interruption of water service as you would for an impending tornado. A flexible alert system is one where you can use voice or email messaging for low level warnings as well as an SMS text message alert for imminent danger.[click to continue...]
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