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2011 Newsletter

February 2011

Issue 1



University Hospital

Emergency Management's mission is to give hospital personnel the support system they need to continue exemplary care to our patients, even during a disaster situation.

A newsletter for University Hospital Staff from the Department of Emergency Management

Upstate University Hospital

In this issue:

  • Q&A on staff notification of a disaster event
  • Current events in the Department of Emergency Management
  • Information on the hospital HVA
  • Key accomplishments in 2010 and objectives for 2011 in Emergency Management
Q & A with Gary Smith, University Hospital Emergency Manager
Q: How does hospital staff know that the hospital is addressing disaster situation?
A: There are overhead pages which designate various types of disasters with colors. A few examples include Code Black (Severe Weather), Code Yellow (Bomb Threat), and Code Orange (Hazardous Material Incident). These designations may be followed by an “Incident Command page” which indicates the Hospital Incident Command Team has been activated to address the situation.  The University Hospital Environment of Care - Safety Quick Reference Guide in each department outlines general staff response to all disasters. Staff that are outside of the hospital could be notified via telephone, e-mail, and page. NY ALERT will be activated when it is necessary to notify large numbers of staff campus wide of an event

Current Events in the Department of Emergency Management

  • University Hospital will be participating in a Regional Partnership Coalition Drill with New York State Department of Health on April 7th where we will receive an influx of patients from a mass casualty event.
  • As part of this exercise, we recently trained 50 nurses on Disaster Triage education, which concentrates on placement of victims in the hospital emergency department based on established acuity levels.
  • Mass Fatality Training was held at the January Emergency Management meeting. The hospital wrote a plan in 2009 on response protocols to a mass fatality situation as part of the NYS Department of Health Emergency Preparedness deliverables.
  • Emergency Management is currently working with our Ambulatory Offsite locations to review, revise and educate on their disaster and evacuation plans.
  • Evacuation equipment training for new nursing staff will start in March 2011. For more information contact OTD

University Hospital's Hazard Vulnerability Analysis (HVA)

The hospital's Hazard Vulnerability Analysis identifies disaster types of events that are most prevalent to occur in healthcare organizations as well as in the geographical area in which the hospital is located. Additionally the historical frequency of occurrence plays a role in determining whether or not the hazard is listed on the HVA. Types of disaster events are listed into 4 different categories for organization and classification. They are:

  1. Technological (i.e. Information Technology failures)
  2. Man Made (i.e. Bomb Threats, Child Abduction)
  3. Natural (i.e. Hurricanes, Tornados)
  4. Hazardous Materials (i.e. Chemical contamination of patients)
The Hazard Vulnerability Analysis at University Hospital is reviewed annually or as needed as conditions change frequently. Hazards are ranked in terms of severity and impact to the hospital and patient care operations. Risk factors are determined by probability of occurrence, human impact, property impact, business impact and overall level of preparedness from an internal and external stand point. Response plans are developed for all events through the Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan (CEMP) as part of the "all hazards approach" to disaster management.
  1. Influx of Patients (due to a mass casualty event in the community or surrounding region)
  2. Pandemic/Epidemic (this was experienced during the 2009/2010 flu season with H1N1)
  3. Snowfall (Very prevalent due to the type of weather experienced in Central New York)
  4. Information System Failure (Experienced a campus wide outage in the spring of 2010)
  5. Flood Internal (Always near the top as a flood based on severity can cause the need to evacuate patients

Key Accomplishments of the Emergency Management program in 2010

  • Planning and successful response to the 2009 H1N1 Pandemic facilitated by a Flu Steering Committee which met weekly for 6 months.
  • The development of a hospital Emergency Management website to enhance staff education on elements of the program.
  • Revision and facility wide distribution of the hospital's Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan. (CEMP)
  • The development and implementation of a contingency plan to transport patients to and from the East Tower when the Blue Elevators are down.

Objectives for the Emergency Management program for 2011

  • Enhance the National Incident Management System (NIMS) education plan at University Hospital.
  • Review and revise as necessary hospital wide department specific disaster and evacuation plans and post on Incident Command drive for ease of access.
  • Maintain continuous compliance with Emergency Management standards from DNV.
  • Enhance overall Code Amber hospital response to a potential or actual event through drills and increased staff education on roles and responsibilities.
  • Review and revise hospital surge plan in the event of major mass casualty event, working with internal leadership and community partners.