Preparing for Disaster
Materialization of Disaster
Disasters can strike at anytime, and for the most part, happen without warning. That is why is has become vital for health care organizations to prepare in advance for disasters. The most common type of disasters are natural (tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, etc.). Since natural disasters have always been around, health care professionals have been aware of their capabilities and possible damage they can wreck upon society. For example, Hurricane Katrina completely wiped out the city of New Orleans on August 29, 2005, leaving the city helpless. Not only did the tragedy claim the lives of thousands of Americans, it also led to power failures, water and fuel shortages, flooding, and communication breakdowns. While American health care organizations have had emergency plans for natural disasters, they could not fathom a hurricane of that magnitude. Another type of disaster that has become more of a focal point over the past decade is chemical or hazardous materials disaster. Whether these disasters are intentional (terrorist attacks) or unintentional (chemical spills or nuclear meltdowns), they are just as serious and need to be prepared for just like natural disasters. The terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, and the more recent tsunami that stuck Japan on March 11, 2011 and destroyed nuclear plants releasing radiation into the environment, are two examples of intentional and unintentional disasters, respectively. Nature and Scope
Large scale emergencies are a threat to any health care entity, regardless of location, size, or scope. No health care organization can predict the nature of a future emergency, nor can it predict the date of its arrival. However, health care providers can plan by following six major areas of emergency response. These six areas of emergency preparedness were set forth by The Joint Commission (TJC), formerly the Joint Commission on Accreditation of...