The purpose of emergency planning is to provide the basis for systematic responses to emergencies that threaten an organization and the records and information necessary for continuing operations.
Most primary care respondents agreed that physicians are focused mainly on their patients’ day-to-day needs and do not see preparedness as part of their mission. Respondents did report that local partnerships and emergency response in small towns were more cohesive because of strong day-to-day relationships among health care providers, first-hand knowledge of the population they serve and a strong community feel. Across sites, respondents consistently reported that hospitals and hospital-owned physician practices typically are much more involved in emergency-preparedness coalitions than other stakeholders, reflecting both the federal financial support hospitals receive for preparedness activities and their size, structure and resources. EOP Base Plan - Provides an understanding of how the organization responds and how it interfaces with the outside environment during response.
First, preparedness activities, such as planning, training and participating in drills, do not generate revenue for health care providers but have costs in staff time and materials. As one rural South Carolina respondent noted, a small town in which people know and look after their neighbors can help responders identify and protect more vulnerable community members in an emergency situation.
Policy makers could encourage groups whose participation is currently limited in most communities, such as independent physician practices, to join traditional preparedness coalitions that meet regularly to develop joint plans or coordinate responses. Figure 2-1 provides a synopsis of the EOP structure demonstrated in the National Response Plan (NRP)[8] and the example below provides an EOP structure and format specifically for HCOs.
The H1N1 influenza pandemic was the most recent national event that required large-scale preparedness and response.
Regional or specialty-based medical societies may maintain similar lists and can provide basic training in disaster planning through continuing medical education.
And, unlike other events that health care organizations must prepare for, such as Joint Commission inspections, there are no predictable, short-term consequences for failing to engage in collaborative, community-level disaster planning.
No rural respondents described working with their state office of rural health on emergency preparedness. Sixty-seven telephone interviews were conducted between June 2011 and May 2012 with representatives of state and local emergency management agencies and health departments, emergency-preparedness coalitions, hospital emergency preparedness coordinators, primary care practices and other organizations working on emergency preparedness and response. The result of the planning process is a written records and information emergency management plan. Refer to the sample emergency management plan in the sidebar as you read the following sections. Information Distribution Procedures The emergency plan should explain the methods [by which] employees would communicate if an emergency event occurs.
Preparedness Checklist The emergency plan must address specific emergencies and how to handle them.
The plan should show when an emergency status is upgraded from one phase to the next phase. Business Continuity Planning Process Diagram - Text VersionWhen business is disrupted, it can cost money. This process can be seen as a timeline, such as in Figure 2, in which incident response actions precede disaster recovery actions.
Based on the findings from incident response activities, the next step is to determine if disaster recovery plans should be launched, and which ones in particular should be invoked. A section on plan document dates and revisions is essential, and should include dates of revisions, what was revised and who approved the revisions.
Once the plan has been launched, DR teams take the materials assigned to them and proceed with response and recovery activities as specified in the plans. These are essential in that they ensure employees are fully aware of DR plans and their responsibilities in a disaster, and DR team members have been trained in their roles and responsibilities as defined in the plans. If DR plans are to be invoked, incident response activities can be scaled back or terminated, depending on the incident, allowing for launch of the DR plans.
This section defines the criteria for launching the plan, what data is needed and who makes the determination. Technology DR plans can be enhanced with relevant recovery information and procedures obtained from system vendors.


If your organisation already has records management and change management programmes, use them in your DR planning. Included within this part of the plan should be assembly areas for staff (primary and alternates), procedures for notifying and activating DR team members, and procedures for standing down the plan if management determines the DR plan response is not needed. A few respondents reported that competition did affect preparedness collaborations, particularly when hospital leaders are guarded about sharing capabilities and needs with peers at other institutions.
The approach to emergency preparedness and response for these Tier 1 assets can be relatively simple. Nonmedical stakeholders, such as police, fire, coroners, school systems and employers, have varying degrees of involvement in medical emergency planning collaboration.
However, most attention has focused on population-level management of obesity or chronic illness rather than disaster preparedness and response.
For example, programs that offer extra payment to primary care practices to coordinate care of patients with specific chronic conditions might also encourage and reward coordination related to emergency preparedness or the creation of business continuity plans. The organizing body must have the ability to manage ongoing EMP activities and, during response, to perform incident management processes, such as incident action planning and disseminating information to its participants. Maintaining preparedness is a daunting task, given that emergencies can spring up at a national, regional or local level and take forms as varied as a global pandemic, a regional hurricane or a local outbreak of food-borne illness. A hospital respondent in another community coalition cited reluctance to work with nursing homes because of the perception that they are primarily looking for a place to offload patients in an emergency.
Each of these factors may affect how planning responsibilities, staff and information are most efficiently shared in preparation for and during a disaster. The focus on hospitals reflects their historic importance in providing staff, space for planning and response, and treatment of emergency victims, including such specialized services as decontamination or burn care. Other respondents reported frequent communication among competing hospitals on shared pandemic plans and hospital policies for emergencies.
Management approves this plan and provides the necessary authority, structure, policies, procedures, and resources to guide the organization through an emergency. The Components of an Emergency Management Plan Policy Statement Emergency plans should include the policy established in the development process. Training Programs Employees will not follow the plan properly if they have not been trained how to use it. Learn how to develop disaster recovery strategies as well as how to write a disaster recovery plan with these step-by-step instructions. Once your disaster recovery strategies have been developed, you’re ready to translate them into disaster recovery plans. The next section should define roles and responsibilities of DR recovery team members, their contact details, spending limits (for example, if equipment has to be purchased) and the limits of their authority in a disaster situation. Located at the end of the plan, these can include systems inventories, application inventories, network asset inventories, contracts and service-level agreements, supplier contact data, and any additional documentation that will facilitate recovery. Here we can see the critical system and associated threat, the response strategy and (new) response action steps, as well as the recovery strategy and (new) recovery action steps. The more detailed the plan is, the more likely the affected IT asset will be recovered and returned to normal operation. Check with your vendors while developing your DR plans to see what they have in terms of emergency recovery documentation. During the H1N1 pandemic, for example, some coalitions developed plans to distribute supplies in advance.
Main ContentIn the past, the HCO EOP was commonly (and inaccurately) referred to as the disaster plan. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, many health care providers have adopted emergency-preparedness plans, including participation in such activities as community-wide drills and tabletop exercises, to strengthen their ability to respond to a disaster. In some hospital systems, the system’s preparedness plan directly encompassed physician practices owned by the hospital system. However, respondents across all sites generally agreed that providers put normal competitive dynamics aside for preparedness efforts and meet and share information on capacity and supply chains when needed.


An emergency management plan is a unique, detailed guide for times of great stress and crisis. Some health systems did expect employed physicians in community practices to work collaboratively in disaster planning.
Task Organization Organizational size may dictate that several teams be involved in plan activities. These steps should be continuous or sequential from the preparedness phase to the response phase for each emergency addressed. A training program outline should be included in the plan to document subjects in which employees have been trained and the frequency the training was administered. Formulating a detailed recovery plan is the main aim of the entire IT disaster recovery planning project. In addition to using the strategies previously developed, IT disaster recovery plans should form part of an incident response process that addresses the initial stages of the incident and the steps to be taken. During the incident response process, we typically become aware of an out-of-normal situation (such as being alerted by various system-level alarms), quickly assess the situation (and any damage) to make an early determination of its severity, attempt to contain the incident and bring it under control, and notify management and other key stakeholders. And since DR planning generates a significant amount of documentation, records management (and change management) activities should also be initiated.
When working with nontraditional partners, community coalitions reported difficulty in aligning goals and securing buy in from those who view emergency management as outside their scope of responsibility.
Nearly all hospitals working with both hospital-employed physicians and independent community-based physicians reported that hospital-employed physicians are easier to engage, suggesting that markets with larger physician groups and more hospital employment of physicians would be better positioned to build integrated surge-capacity plans. Rural respondents reported depending on buy in from a smaller pool of institutional leaders, and these leaders did not always perceive value in allocating limited funding and staff time for emergency management and participation in coalitions.
If several teams will be involved, each team and respective member responsibilities should be included in the plan.
Testing Procedures The plan must include goals, objectives, and schedules for conducting exercises or simulations. Once this work is out of the way, you’re ready to move on to developing disaster recovery strategies, followed by the actual plans.
Note: We have included emergency management in Figure 2, as it represents activities that may be needed to address situations where humans are injured or situations such as fires that must be addressed by local fire brigades and other first responders.
This section should specify who has approved the plan, who is authorised to activate it and a list of linkages to other relevant plans and documents.
Because of the generally collegial approach to preparedness activities, respondents reported that tighter hospital affiliations in consolidated markets had little impact. If citizen or corporate partners are included in the emergency process, list them in the plan.
Specific types of exercises to be used for the most likely emergencies should also be in the plan. The following section details the elements in a DR plan in the sequence defined by ISO 27031 and ISO 24762. Important: Best-in-class DR plans should begin with a few pages that summarise key action steps (such as where to assemble employees if forced to evacuate the building) and lists of key contacts and their contact information for ease of authorising and launching the plan. It is in these plans that you will set out the detailed steps needed to recover your IT systems to a state in which they can support the business after a disaster. Here we’ll explain how to write a disaster recovery plan as well as how to develop disaster recovery strategies.



Earthquake sites map
Medical emergency response plan flow chart
A-kit suspension


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