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Hospitals hardly know when an emergency situation will happen, whether manmade (9/11, the Boston Marathon bombing) or a natural disaster (Hurricane Sandy, the recent tornado in Oklahoma). In the wake of the Oklahoma tornado earlier this week, The Joint Commission is emphasizing the importance of putting together a hospital disaster plan and doing a run-through twice a year.
Joint Commission-accredited facilities are required to follow TJC guidelines in developing an emergency operations plan. TJC guidelines include preparedness in six major areas: communications, resources and assets, security and safety, staffing, utility systems, and patient care.
George Mills, director of the Department of Engineering, Division of Healthcare Improvement for The Joint Commission, outlined in a teleconference on Wednesday the steps hospitals must take to prepare for emergencies: