Components of an Effective Emergency Operation Plan
Once the initial assessment is complete, the healthcare facility will now commence on the creation of an emergency operation plan (EOP). Essential components of the EOP are as follows:
- An activation response: The EOP activation response of a health care facility must define, how and when the response must be initiated.
- An internal/external communication plan: Communication between designated groups and agencies is very vital for all parties involved, including communication to and from the pre hospital area.
- A plan for coordinated patient care: A response is planned for patient coordinated care into and out of the facility, including transfers to other facilities outside the community. The site of the disaster can determine where the greater number of victims may refer themselves.
- Identification of external resources: External resources are identified, including local, state and federal resources and information on how to activate these resources effectively.
- Security plans: A well coordinated security plan involving facility and community agencies is the key to the control of an otherwise chaotic situation.
- A plan for people management and traffic flow: People management must include, strategies to manage numerous injured victims, the public, media and personnel. Specific areas are assigned and a designated person is delegated to manage each of the above mentioned areas.
- A data management strategy: A data management plan for every aspect of the disaster will save precious time and at every step. A backup system for documentation, tracking and staffing is developed if the facility has an existing computer database.
- A deactivation response: Deactivation of the response is as important as activation; considering that resources are limited and must not be overused. The person who decides when the facility is able to go from the disaster response back to daily activities is clearly identified. Any possible residual effects of disaster must be considered before this decision is made.
- A post-incident response: Often facilities see increased volumes of patient three months or more following the onset of a disastrous event or calamity. Post-incident response must include a critique and debriefing for all parties involved, immediately and again at a later date.
- A plan for practice drills: Practice drills that include community participation allow for troubleshooting of issues before a real life incident occurs.
- Anticipating limited resources: Food, water and other necessary supplies must be readily available for staff, families and others who may be at the facility for an extended period.
- MCI planning: This aspect includes planning for the unspeakable event of mass casualties and morgue readiness to accommodate the numerous number of deceased.
- An educational plan for all of the above mentioned components: A strong educational plan for all personnel regarding each step of the plan allows for improved readiness and additional input for further fine tuning of the EOP.
The EOP should also include a structure that describes roles for all employees in each emergency situation. For example the chief nurse or chief resident physician will act as the incident commander within the hospital in coordinating all aspects of the fast and effective implementation of the hospital’s emergency operation plan.