EVACUATING HEALTHCARE FACILITIES
CAN YOU EVACUATE YOUR PATIENTS, VISITORS AND STAFF SAFELY?
Why we need an evacuation plan
With the vulnerability of patients in hospitals or other forms of healthcare premises, emergency evacuation procedures are paramount. We need to be prepared for any eventuality to get everyone out safely when it comes to evacuating hospitals and healthcare facilities.
With the current unpredictable climate of terrorism and violence, along with fire and weather emergencies, effective emergency evacuation plans are vital. Extra precautions and considerations need to be taken into account to accommodate the individual needs of patients whatever their disabilities. Personnel and visitors with disabilities also need protection. Imagine, for a moment, you or your loved ones being left behind?
Identifying and preventing risk is a crucial part of emergency planning in healthcare facilities and should never allow leaving anyone behind because they are less abled than other patients. Pre-planning for an emergency in such premises is imperative in today’s world. Healthcare facilites must have the capacity to move all persons to a safe location immediately in any emergency situation. Sheltering in place and waiting for first responders to arrive and rescue may not be safe or the best option. Robust emergency and evacuation planning should be part of a patient’s Personal Emergency Evacuation Plan (PEEP). Plans should be comprehensively written for the patients individual needs.
This plan should insure and include:
• Full risk identification and prevention
• Drills (identifying obstacles as they arise and before an emergency occurs)
ª Equipment required and its usage
• Training needs
• Post drill evaluation to inform any changes necessary etc.
Staff and visitors with disabilities can also be at risk. Healthcare officials and staff should develop a plan to necessitate provisions and share the information with all people concerned. Through the entire process, the establishment has a moral, ethical and legal responsibility to keep their whole community safe in the event of an emergency.