Exercises to Propel Presence, Completeness, and Effectiveness of Hospital Emergency / Disaster Plans
Exercises = Emergency Exercises
Emergency exercises are activities to practice and test emergency / disaster response plans in order to achieve constant readiness and effectiveness in the implementation of the plans when called for in real emergencies /disasters.
ROJ Thoughts, Perceptions, Opinions, and Recommendations (TPOR):
Since 2005, when I started to get deeply involved in hospital emergency / disaster preparedness, over the 6 years that I have interacted and observed different hospitals both in the Philippines and countries in the Western Pacific Region, I have acquired these three perceptions / observations:
- Majority of hospitals have NO emergency / disaster preparedness / response plans.
- If there are emergency / disaster preparedness /response plans in place, majority are INCOMPLETE and NO EXERCISES to practice and test them.
- CONDUCTING emergency / disaster EXERCISES is the best strategy to ensure presence, completeness, and effectiveness of the plans and constant readiness of the hospitals to manage emergencies / disasters when they occur.
With my most recent facilitating in a course on Emergency Exercises from August 22 to 26, 2011, in Hanoi, Vietnam, No. 3 is now my conviction. From hereon, I will use Emergency Exercises to propel presence, completeness, and effectiveness of emergency / disaster preparedness / response plans in hospitals. This means, all trainings that I will conduct from hereon will have emergency exercises as the CORE. There must be a learning objective on emergency exercise, no matter how limited in scope, and preferably with SIMULATED ACTIVITIES rather than just lecture. Before an exercise can be done, an emergency response plan must be present. Thus, the participants will be forced to produce one. No matter how incomplete the plan is, the exercise activity will somehow improve it. At the end of the day, the inputs, throughputs, and outputs will be summarized by this equation: incomplete plans + EXERCISES = > improved plans + improved readiness.