What if. Could AAMC respond like Boston hospitals?

What if. Could AAMC respond like Boston hospitals?

ConceptJust one week after the Boston terror events, it is still fresh in our minds. As nurses, the heroic stories of the first responders and health care workers who cared for victims hit especially close to home.

Clearly, the Boston hospitals were ready to respond to an event like this. They sprang into action just minutes after the bombs exploded, saving countless lives.

In this post 9/11 world, we have to ask: Would AAMC be able to respond as effectively as the Boston hospitals in a similar event?

Although I hope to never have to experience the answer to that question, as the Emergency Management Coordinator at AAMC, I know that we absolutely could have that same emergency response here at AAMC and within our region of Maryland. Let me tell you why:

  1. We work well with others. We participate in regional training efforts with other hospitals and state agencies regularly, and we have working relationships with each entity. A few of these include Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Office of Preparedness and Response, Maryland Institute of Emergency Medical Services Systems (MIEMSS), and the local Offices of Emergency Management (OEM).
  2. We have the supplies we need. We receive federal grant dollars to purchase items for disaster response and decontamination, like hazmat shower tents and Powered Air Purifying Respirators (PAPRS), among many other items.
  3. We have a Hospital Emergency Response Team. All across the hospital, we have a team of people who attend monthly trainings on the many aspects of emergency response. This team is dedicated and very committed to creating an emergency response effort like the Boston hospitals were able to achieve. If you are interested in becoming a part of this team, please email me at psherman@aahs.org
  4. We have dedicated hospital staff. We have an incredible staff here at AAMC. If, in a disaster situation, each staff member was asked to stay a bit longer or help in a situation that was out of the ordinary, I have no doubt that the overall response would be phenomenal.
  5. We have the administration to succeed. The administrative staff team has completed Hospital Incident Command System (HICS) training and they are well versed at running our hospital in any type of emergency response.

What can you do to improve our response?

-Start by asking, What are my department’s emergency response efforts? Know where you fit in to those efforts.

-If you don’t have one on your unit, make a simple phone tree. If staff need to be called in for an emergency, everyone’s contact information will be up to date.

-Take a free class on the FEMA website training.fema.gov/IS/NIMS.asp. Key courses are: ICS 100HCb Introduction to the Incident Command System for Healthcare/Hospitals; ICS 200HCa Applying ICS to Healthcare Organizations; ICS 700a National Incident Management System (NIMS), An Introduction; and ICS 800b National Response Framework: An Introduction. If you take any of these courses, please print out a completion certificate for your own portfolio and send a second copy to Patty Sherman.

-Check out our new policy EOC 4.4.01, Emergency Operations Plan. It will guide your emergency response efforts. 

What does the future hold for Emergency Management Planning at AAMC? Look for future HealthStream courses on Emergency Management, as well as new policies and procedures on evacuation and mass casualty. We are also working on increasing the awareness of our Emergency Management Planning and will be participating in some planned exercises. Contact psherman@aahs.org to learn more.  -Patty Sherman, MSN, RN, Emergency Management Coordinator

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