Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Preparing for the Unpredictable

This week’s “Walk of Unity” marked one year since a deadly EF-5 tornado tore through Joplin, Missouri. The Joplin Globe slideshow reveals the resilience of the town, which broke ground on a new elementary school as well as a new high school this week.  (Pictured here is 7-year old Logan Foglesong, who brought his own shovel to Tuesday’s groundbreaking for the new Emerson Elementary School. Photo credit: Roger Nomer/Globe)

As we look ahead to yet another hurricane season, which begins June 1, AHCA/NCAL encourages all long term and post-acute care providers to review existing disaster plans and other preparedness measures. Nothing could have diverted deadly tornadoes like the one that devastated Joplin, Missouri – or the more than 160 killer tornadoes that swept across Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee and Virginia a month earlier on April 27, 2011. But, time and again, we have witnessed facilities put plans into action that have kept residents from harm and set recovery in motion almost immediately.
As noted on the AHCA Disaster Planning web page, there are several important questions to consider when building an emergency preparedness plan:
  1. Does your plan have the correct names, titles, or phone numbers? If you have had any personnel changes during the year make sure the plan and all copies reflect the change.
  2. Do you have a list of essential personnel that are needed at the time of an event? Does your staff know who is considered essential?
  3. Do you have an identified command center? Does this command center have emergency power? Does the staff know where the command center is?  
  4. Does staff know what is in the emergency plan or the location of the plans?
To guide facilities and professionals through the process of developing a plan, AHCA, the California Association of Health Facilities (CAHF), the Florida Health Care Association (FHCA), and The Center for Hospital Incident Command System Education and Training created the Nursing Home Incident Command System. Want to learn more about this? Watch our videos featuring AHCA Disaster Planning Committee Chair & Texas Health Care Association President Tim Graves and committee member and CAHF’s Clinical Affairs Director Jocelyn Montgomery.
For more information, check out the AHCA Disaster Planning website, and plan to join us at the 63rd Annual Convention & Expo in Tampa to participate in the disaster planning education session.

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