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Why Hospitals Can Operate During Natural Disasters



When a natural disaster occurs, chaos is inevitable. So much of what people have come to rely on is thrown in flux and the shock and fear from the natural disaster itself is a challenge to deal with itself along with the damage caused by the natural disaster. It can be difficult for individuals to know what to do during these difficult times, but the same can be said for institutions as well. However, although difficult, institutions, such as hospitals, have plans and protocols in place to ensure they can continue to provide treatment and care to the community.

Planning Ahead

The hospital engages in emergency preparedness that allows the hospital to handle the shock of a natural disaster. This preparedness comes from planning and that planning includes the procedures and protocols that are in place to keep the hospital operating. Plans can include regular meetings to review procedures and protocols to follow, drills to practice the protocols and procedures or professional development courses that include hurricanes lesson plans or other region-specific material covering natural disasters relevant to certain areas.

Hospitals are used to dealing with the unexpected by preparing for the unexpected. This is not limited to the medical professionals who have trained to deal with medical emergencies. This means that hospitals as a cohesive unit plan for emergencies that occur within the hospital and those that occur outside like natural disasters. Hospitals are able to continue to function because of preparedness whether that is by employing an emergency manager or relying on individual leadership in the hospital. Hospitals that employ an emergency manager have an individual whose sole responsibility is to ensure the hospital's readiness if and when any unexpected event should occur including natural disasters.

Included in this planning must also be an analysis of the hospital's vulnerabilities in order to account for those weaknesses. This is one important way that hospitals ensure they can operate, as they have planned for the initial plan to fail and have a backup plan. A hospital can operate during natural disasters because they make sure the plans they have in place also are not the only plans they have to rely on.

Having plans that dictate procedure and protocol are not the only reason hospitals function during natural disasters. It is also because their methods and priorities shift so that they can adequately deal with the needs of the patients and staff and potential patients. To meet all of these needs, hospitals are required to limit the services they can provide to meet the urgent needs caused by the natural disaster. This includes implementing a triage system that requires that the first to be treated are the ones in most critical need.

Another important aspect of a hospital’s operation during a natural disaster is the integrity of the hospital building itself. This can be something that is not immediately considered an important way that hospitals secure their ability to function, but it is, nonetheless, essential. A hospital's ability to operate is only secure as the facility itself.

Preparing People

Hospitals ensure their functionality by also ensuring that there is a system of clear communication in place. This is an essential part of the planning process as well. Staff must be able to clearly communicate and understand communication in order to continue their duties in the wake of a natural disaster. It is crucial that everyone trusts the communication system in place and that everyone trusts one another in communicating.

Volunteers are also a crucial part of a hospital's operations during a natural disaster. Natural disasters impact entire communities, so it becomes vital that individuals within the community commit themselves to serve as support for hospitals to meet the immediate needs of the community. You may want to look into pool builders near me. This service can come in a variety of means and should be provided based on the hospital's stated priorities.

Natural disasters may create chaos, but institutions and individuals within them can prepare to counteract that chaos. Hospitals, as a vital part of a community, are the ones that do this best.


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