An explosion at a tank farm adjacent to an industrial facility represents a potential threat to the population of patients located in a nearby hospital. However, an administrator on duty (AOD) should not declare a disaster immediately without seeking any more information. The key strategies for disaster response include the protection and preservation of life, the stabilization of a disaster scene, and the protection of property.
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When implementing a hospital’s emergency operations plan, these three objectives must be met. Activating the command center is important in this case because it will help for the easier dissemination of information and the management of responses to the emergency: the unity of command, clarity of text, and span of control. To ensure the safety of staff and patients, an AOD will engage everyone in a coordinated collaboration effort reinforced by clear communication (Cooper, 2011). By using the command system, all patients and staff will be given instructions on how to behave in the current situation.
However, mobilizing potential hospital staff may pose a threat to their well-being due to the widespread panic in the immediate vicinity of the hospital. When it comes to the lockdown, it may be sufficient to limit the entry to the facility but not the exit. Due to risks of exposure to harmful substances, the decontamination of emergency patients should be performed. It is also necessary to notify public health agencies about the risks of the emergency for them to assist in additional safety efforts and provide resources.
Such organizations as the Department of Homeland Security, a relevant emergency management agency in the area and the representatives of the local government should be immediately contacted by the hospital’s AOD to communicate the efforts implemented for keeping patients and workers safe. Not only will these agencies give instructions on how to preserve the safety of the people located in the hospital but also aid in evacuation if necessary.
The potential threats are associated not only with the hospital itself but also with people located inside it. In addition, the equipment present in the facility is at risk due to the threats of catching fire, and restoring it may be costly to the healthcare government of the area. This means that hospitals represent valuable resources to the community, as well as needed for addressing the physical damage of any other individuals who suffered from a disaster.
In the case of hospital emergency, the coordination and supervision of the staff will be implemented with the help of an incident command system as well as through face-to-face interactions (Reynolds, Michael, & Spiess, 2017). The goal of the coordination is to ensure safety, achieve tactical objectives, and use resources efficiently. Coordination, collaboration, and cooperation are the “3 Cs” of incident command and requires professionals to be aware of the situation, be professional, and avoid any confrontations to achieve the effectiveness of emergency tactics (Cooper, 2011). Within the “3 Cs” framework, the dissemination of responsibilities is the most important factor.
For instance, the AOD should be accountable for the supervision of the staff and the differentiation of roles; physicians should be responsible for taking care of emergency patients as well as other individuals needing additional care. Overall, a cohesive plan of addressing emergency situations in hospitals needs immediate actions of an AOD, the assignment of tasks, the “3 Cs,” as well as the communication with relevant authorities.
Cooper, A. (2011). Healthcare incident management systems. In M. J. Reilly & D. S. Markenson (Eds.), Healthcare emergency management: Principles and practice (pp. 21-47). Sudbury, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.
Reynolds, P. S., Michael, M. J., & Spiess, B. D. (2017). Application of Incident Command Structure to clinical trial management in the academic setting: Principles and lessons learned. Trials, 18, 62.