Disaster Planning Committee
A disaster is a calamitous event, occurring either natural or man-made, that causes a great loss of life, damage or hardship. Hospitals and other health care facilities should have an organized for caring for mass casualties if a major disaster occurs. A disaster could either be external or internal. External disasters take place outside the health care facility. Calamitous events such as an airplane crash or an event of nature belong to this category. Internal disasters take place inside a health care facility. Fire, or an explosion belong to this category of disaster.
Disaster Planning in Health Care Facilities
A disaster planning committee serves as the planning arm and voice of the health care facility as it relates to disaster planning, preparedness, mitigation, response and recovery. The intrahospital committee plans ways and measures to prevent and deal with various disasters that might occur. This plan includes the following:
- Consultation with local civil authorities
- Consultation with representatives of other medical agencies
The planning is done by consultation to establish an effective chain of command and to make an appropriate jurisdictional provision. The result of this planning is the disaster-site triage to separate and distribute patients to ensure the most efficient use of available facilities and services.
To deal with external disasters, some health care facilities are conducting external disaster drills. These drills are conducted twice a year. The purpose of organizing and running these drills is to try out the plans developed by the committee, to seek to improve those plans and to familiarize the health care facility personnel with them.
To deal with both types of disasters, the following plans should be taken into serious consideration:
- There should be an information center in the hospital. This facilitates a unified medical command and the movement of patients.
- The receiving area for should follow a standard protocol that will be applied in all emergency cases. Severely wounded patients or casualties should be given emergency care depending and basing on their needs and should be sent to the operating room or to other units as indicated or transferred to another facility. Casualties or patients who are ambulatory are treated in the emergency department for slight injuries and are sent home or admitted to the hospital as indicated.
- Special disaster medical records should accompany patients at all times.
- There should be a plan of organization in the personnel.
- Departmental instructions for the health care staff or personnel should be written and posted.
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