Posted on 09/29/2015

In case you missed it, last week we kicked off the emergency management series with “7 Key Areas of a Hospital Emergency Operations Plan.” This post is the second in our series about emergency management for hospitals and healthcare organizations.

By Lora Mays, Product Marketing Manager

When an emergency hits – whether it’s a hurricane, accident, emerging infectious disease or electrical system failure – you need to be ready, and having an emergency operations plan can ensure that you have the appropriate measures in place.

The Joint Commission requires that hospitals and healthcare organizations follow specific parameters in developing their emergency operations plan, including:

  • Communication
  • Resources and assets
  • Safety and security
  • Staff responsibilities
  • Utilities management
  • Patient and clinical support activities
  • Regular testing and evaluation


These parameters must be addressed throughout the plan, which can be broken into four distinct phases, according to The Joint Commission. In this blog post, we’ll discuss the first two phases and what you need to include in your emergency operation plans to adhere to regulatory requirements.



The mitigation phase occurs prior to an emergency. During this phase, there are several different things that an organization needs to do to ensure that they are prepared in case of the event of an emergency. For instance, engage key internal stakeholders to analyze your current plan to identify any key gaps or areas where you can improve.

As part of this, your organization should conduct a hazard vulnerability analysis (HVA), which serves as a basis for defining mitigation activities. These activities are designed to reduce the risk of and potential damage from an emergency.

During this phase, the emergency operation plans should be communicated to community emergency response agencies, which will help identify how capable the community organizations are to fit the needs of the hospital or facilities in the case of an emergency.



As part of the emergency operations plan, the hospital must outline how it will:

  • Communicate with staff, patients and external organizations: This outlines what types of communication vehicles the hospital will use (e.g., bulletin boards, fax machines, satellite phones, text messages), as well as how they will communicate with key parties. For instance, how will the hospital communicate with suppliers of essential services, equipment and supplies? How will the organization make sure the staff responsible for key assets and resources has the right information?
  • Manage its resources and assets during an emergency: As part of your preparedness plan, you need to outline how you will manage your supplies, equipment and facilities internally. To prepare for an emergency, you can use a CMMS solution like TMS OnLine to track your assets and inventory required in the event of an emergency. In addition, it can ensure that you are taking care of the equipment that may only be used during an emergency situation.
  • Ensure safety and security during an emergency: As part of its emergency management, a hospital must outline how it will arrange internal security and safety. Part of this includes how it will coordinate security activities with outside agencies (e.g., police, National Guard, etc.), as well as what roles they will hold in an emergency. This part of the emergency operations plan also details how the hospital will manage hazardous materials and waste.


Learn more about how hospitals can develop and manage its emergency operations plan in our on-demand webinar, "Using a CMMS for Emergency Management."