Nov 13 2017

Decontamination Activation

Category: Emergency Response Plan,Questions and AnswersBKeyes @ 12:00 am

Q: Is there a specific time-limit required by the accreditation organizations for decontamination purposes, from activation of a drill to being able to put victims through a decontamination tent?

A: While there is no specific standard which spells out the amount of time required to set-up a decontamination tent, the time-frame must be evaluated to determine its effectiveness.

The emergency management standards require an effective disaster plan which must be written and educated to the staff of the organization. These same standards require disaster drills that are evaluated by observers for effectiveness. The results of the drill observations must be relayed to the Safety Team which uses the information to improve the hospital’s capacity to respond to disasters. The whole disaster response process includes an on-going evaluation to determine the effectiveness of the organization’s emergency response efforts.

So, while the amount of time to set-up a decontamination tent and run your first patient through is not specified, the catch-all is it must be effective. You may ask who judges whether or not the amount of time is effective? First, the hospital makes that determination but ultimately, the surveyor may make a judgment on that as well. If a surveyor decides that the amount of time to set-up a decontamination tent is too long, then that can lead to a finding.

The bottom line: Run a disaster drill which includes setting up the decontamination tent, and make an evaluation of the time it took from the start of the drill to when a patient can first use the tent. Report that process to your safety committee, and have them decide if it is an adequate amount of time. If the safety committee decides it is adequate, then there is a good chance the surveyor will view it the same.

Jun 09 2014

Emergency Response Plan

Q: We are going to prepare an action card for fire safety as part of our major emergency response plan. What information regarding fire safety would you suggest we include on the Emergency Response job action card?

A: Emergency response preparedness (i.e. Emergency Preparedness) involves many different aspects, including fire safety. In order to write a job action sheet (or job action card) for fire safety, I would suggest that you utilize your basic fire response plan for the internal portion of emergency preparedness. Many hospitals utilize the familiar acronym RACE to help remind their staff as to the organization’s fire response plan:

  • R = Rescue anyone in harm’s way of the fire
  • A = Activate the alarm by pulling the manual fire alarm station and dialing______
  • C = Contain the fire by closing all the doors
  • E = Extinguish the fire with portable extinguishers, OR Evacuate patients from the scene of the fire

For external fires, a job action sheet may include some (or all) of the following:

  • Shutting down all of the fresh-air intakes for the hospital’s ventilation system.
  • Placing boards on windows
  • Taking pro-active action and wetting-down combustible portions of the facilities or grounds
  • Possible relocating patients from one wing or area to another
  • Emptying parking lots and garages which are close to the hospital
  • Possible evacuation of hospital
  • Re-directing traffic away from the hospital
  • Controlling access to the Emergency Department
  • Suspending shift change and proceeding to a 12 hour on/12 hour off rotation