Top Three Disasters in Disaster Preparedness
The top three disasters that local hospitals are always prepared for include earthquakes, chemical emergencies and fires. The interview was conducted on Mary Osborne who is a local nurse in St. Augustine local hospital having worked there for a period of 12 years. The interview with the local nurse was useful in getting a better perspective into the key disasters that could affect the organization and prepare for the best interventions.
During the interview, Mary identified earthquakes as a top disaster in which the hospital constantly has to keep prepared for. She revealed that the hospital has a fully functional earthquake plan that is reviewed often to ensure it is effective in case of a disaster. The personnel at the hospital are put through rigorous drills which are meant to test their familiarity with the earthquake plan. According to Mary, familiarity within the organization is important as it helps the personnel to keep patients and visitors remain safe during the disaster.
She outlined also several procedures that they follow in such situations which include remaining calm, assuring the patients; of their safety and keeping clear of any wires, poles and windows. She also revealed that they immediately carry out checks on the hospital utilities to ensure there are no gas and water leaks or even electric damage. Mary guarantees that the earthquake action plan is implementable since the plans are usually reviewed by the Safety committee to ensure they are appropriate and safe. The safety committee within the hospital will be tasked with the responsibility of ensuring that the safety measures set up could counter the impacts of a potential earthquake. The nurse was highly informed about the threats of an earthquake hitting the hospitals with patients still admitted.
The second disaster as identified by Mary was chemical emergencies that the hospital gets from time to time due to the chemical factory located about a mile from the hospital. These emergencies, she admitted, are currently on the increase which means the hospital is always prepared for in patients. Mary noted that the chemical emergencies are highly common due to the use of machineries and tools that involves chemicals. For example, the hospital laboratory faces high risks of chemical emergencies and concerns (Council, 2016). Therefore, the personnel have had to learn how to handle these hazmat incidences not only in individual cases but also in multi-casualty and mass-casualty levels.
All hospital equipment, supplies and personnel are usually integrated into the hazmat plans in readiness for such disasters. Mary reveals that the three incidences require different responses which the hospital ensures they are fully trained for. In multi-casualty cases for example, only the highly skilled staff is deployed to go and offer medical care. In these situations, the demand for hospital systems is usually higher when the hospital is always fully stocked. Effectiveness and flexibility in these chemical emergencies is usually a priority in the emergency room. It is critical that the nature and implications of chemical emergencies are critical in the hospitals.
The third disaster that Mary identified as a top disaster in St. Augustine hospital is fire hazards. Since fires spread quickly, the hospitals can register about five dozen people in extreme cases and in a very short period of time. It is always clear that all organizations including the hospitals should be ready to respond to fire accidents and emergencies. The treatment of these victims then becomes a coordinated affair between the emergency responders like Mary and the operating room personnel. The preparedness efforts include exercise programs and diligent planning which are all meant to put the personnel in a position in which they can manage the fire disasters.
The interview revealed that much like in chemical disasters, fire disasters also have mass casualties which may overwhelm hospitals with limited skills and resources. An example she gave was in situation where the fires are in residential house. The bystanders and survivors may then decide to become the first responders and make the work of the emergency personnel like Mary even harder. The hospital is also expected to invest in fire extinguishers and alarms to ensure that the patients are evacuated in time before any major casualties when a fire breaks out in the hospital organization. Community outreach concerning these disasters especially fires will prevent additional casualties while enlightening the community members on relevant safety strategies.
Three Lessons Learned In Managing A Disaster
From the interview I learnt that in managing a disaster pre-hospital management is an important aspect. In pre-hospital management, first aid posts and parties, ambulance services and mobile surgical units are considered. It is vital that hospitals be able to provide these services at a moment’s notice in cases of mass disasters and individual disasters (O’Mathúna, Gordijn, & Clarke, 2013). The main reason these services are important is because the victims will need administration of first aid services at the scene of the disasters and they will also require immediate transportation to the hospital hence the need for good ambulance services. It is also clear that in disasters coordination is a key aspect. In this case, the victims will first have to receive first aid then the lightly wounded casualties are taken to the first aid posts while the heavy casualties are transported by ambulance to the hospital.
I also learned that effective emergency hospital management is imperative to the hospitals. As I gathered from the interview, the management of the hospitals must prepare for potential disasters. It is clear that in preparedness for all disasters, hospitals need emergency services that include critical care facilities, surgical and transfusion services and investigation facilities. In disasters, the hospitals will need to invest in good hospital control and management units and process. Such element will help in setting an appropriate environment to respond to the potential disasters occurring in the hospitals.
The last lesson I learned is that communication with the various stakeholders is important. It follows the demand for the immediate responders and local enforcement agencies to help with addressing disasters facing the hospital. I discovered that it is difficult for the hospitals to deal with the disasters alone (Ronan et al., 2015). They will need to cooperate and form partnerships with the community to address the risks of disaster occurrence.
Council, D. P. A. (2016). Medical countermeasures for children in public health emergencies, disasters, or terrorism. Pediatrics, 137(2), e20154273.
O’Mathúna, D. P., Gordijn, B., & Clarke, M. (Eds.). (2013). Disaster bioethics: Normative issues when nothing is normal (Vol. 2). London, UK: Springer Science & Business Media.
Ronan, K. R., Alisic, E., Towers, B., Johnson, V. A., & Johnston, D. M. (2015). Disaster preparedness for children and families: a critical review. Current Psychiatry Reports, 17(7), 1-9.