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Disaster planning: Training for the perils of weapons of mass exposure, 2020

PUBLISHED WITH PERMISSION FROM the JOURNAL OF HEALTHCARE PROTECTION MANAGEMENT

TASA ID: 12689

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we offer our third article for this journal on handling emergency situations involving mass exposure contaminates [1][2]. One of us (Scaglione) has also authored a book speaking to proactive event prevention and effective resolution [3]. In the pages that follow, we provide an Emergency Preparedness Readiness Checklist that can serve as a roadmap for security executives to follow for more effective disaster management, and we expand on the checklist. We offer guidance on protecting hospital staff, patients, and visitors from becoming contaminated, and we address risk assessment engineering and design, proactive risk exposure mitigation, and innovative recovery strategies for moving forward once emergencies
have passed.

ASSESSING RISKS ASSOCIATED WITH EMERGENT RESPONSES


Knowledgeable security executives instinctively understand that well-structured protection assessments help to deepen and strengthen security response planning strategies. Using lessons
learned from actual and planned events along with best practices and awareness of current trends helps to make the plan more efficient and effective. Among the critical functions that a comprehensive assessment includes are analyses of entry points; security staffing levels; traffic management; physical security systems; policies and procedures; visitor control; media relations; mass notification; and law enforcement support. A complete and thorough assessment always helps to put facility security on solid ground and on the positive side of the protection curve. Beyond carrying out in-house initiatives, you can obtain valuable information on current trends and response practices from government agencies such as The Joint Commission, DNV, Homeland Security, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). When assessing risks and response protocols, FEMA breaks down protocols into four phases: mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery. Although a healthcare facility’s response to an emergent event begins after an incident has occurred, response activities should unfold according to a preplanned progression determined in the mitigation-planning phase. The response process embodies recognition that a disaster is occurring, expeditious reporting of the disaster to key personnel, activating the emergency operations plan, launching the Incident Command Center, notifying and mobilizing all hospital personnel, and ensuring that all emergency units remain mobilized until the disaster is officially declared over.

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