Healthcare Facilities

When planning for an emergency, healthcare facilities should consider the broad range of hazards that could potentially affect New Hanover County, as well as facility-specific hazards. There are several things to consider when developing an emergency plan, including but not limited to:

  • Power outages
  • Missing clients/residents
  • Evacuations
  • Proximity of the facility to flood-prone areas
  • Nearby facilities where hazardous materials may be housed
  • Communications plans for notifying emergency officials, facility staff and residents, and family members of clients

It is important to engage facility staff and use a team approach to emergency planning. Your staff's experience and knowledge of facility-specific hazards can be valuable in shaping a comprehensive emergency plan for your facility. Hazard vulnerability assessment tools can be used to quantify risks based on facts, experience, and documented events.

An essential part of emergency planning for healthcare facilities is building partnerships with agencies and individuals that will support your facility's emergency plans. Before disaster strikes, it is important to develop strong partnerships with local healthcare preparedness coalitions, emergency management, and first responders. These partners can prove vital to the continuous operation of your facility during an actual emergency.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services preparedness regulations require regular emergency exercises to test plans and document gaps and opportunities for improvement. Information on opportunities to participate in joint exercises, and inclusion in databases to receive pertinent preparedness information, may be accessed through the Southeastern Healthcare Preparedness Coalition and the New Hanover County Special Needs Task Force.

The sharing of knowledge, accessibility to resources and qualified personnel, and a better understanding of how processes work during an emergency, are just a few benefits of being involved in multi-agency planning and information sharing.