Disaster Preparedness Starts Here

Cora Nucci, for HealthLeaders Media , March 16, 2011

Challenging. Unique. Complex. And those are just descriptors culled from the abstracts of two reports.

Community and rural hospitals that may be short on specialized emergency preparedness skills now have a place to turn for guidance. It's the Hospital Preparedness Exercises Atlas of Resources and Tools, published by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality for the Department of Health and Human Services. This is the first federally funded guide to hospital emergency preparedness procedures.

The Atlas is designed to help hospital leaders identify the resources to develop, evaluate, and improve disaster preparedness exercises.

A companion to the Atlas is the Hospital Preparedness Exercises Guidebook; which points to resources and tools that may prepare hospital leaders for disasters; “however, it should not be used as a sole reference for preparedness exercises,” HHS noted when the Guidebook was published in December.

Your hospital may never need to operate in response to a disaster, nuclear or otherwise. But knowing where to find the resources to prepare for the worst is among the best assets a hospital leader can have.

AHRQ's Hospital Preparedness Exercises Atlas of Resources and Tools may be downloaded here

Cora Nucci is the Digital Associate Editorial Director for HealthLeaders Media.

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