Lessons Learned

  • Every hospital must have a disaster plan.
  • Regular training for mass casualty incidents and disaster response is essential.
  • Hospital administrators should be actively involved in disaster training.
  • Disaster exercises should include all departments. Drill to the point of failure to identify your plan’s strengths and weaknesses.
  • Have an active shooter plan and practice it regularly.
  • Anticipate the emotional toll disaster incidents have on your staff and plan for it.
  • Implement and practice an effective notification plan to ensure adequate, timely communication with your hospital staff.
  • Consider how you will care for victim family members and friends.
  • Develop working relationships with your local, state and federal law enforcement agencies, emergency medical services, fire department and local government(s). Don’t wait until an incident occurs to begin communicating with them.
  • Have a plan for communicating with the media.
  • Implement and practice using the Hospital Incident Commands System (HICS).
  • Have a plan for VIPs visiting the hospital following an incident.