Pandemics. Mass casualty incidents. Natural disasters. Emergencies such as these can quickly overwhelm even the most advanced, well-equipped, and fully staffed hospital. This is especially true if a facility’s Emergency Operations Plan, or EOP, is lacking information, out of date, or for some reason, inaccessible. 

An EOP, as described by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is a plan that “describes who will do what, as well as when, with what resources, and by what authority—before, during and immediately after an emergency.” In other words, the plan describes how an organization will respond to and recover from all hazards. 

Having an EOP in the healthcare environment is not an option. It’s a requirement for compliance with the Joint Commission and is a key part of the annual review process. Accordingly, plans must be inclusive of the six critical elements within the Joint Commission’s Emergency Management Standards: Communications. Resources and Assets, Safety and Security, Staff Responsibilities, Utilities, and Clinical Support Activities. 

So, does your healthcare facility’s current EOP measure up? Maybe the following questions can help you answer that all-important question. And, more importantly, answer it correctly.

Communications – Does your EOP outline key details for internal and external communication (as part of the Joint Commission’s EM.02.02.01)? Does the plan identify the individuals/parties involved in crafting as well as sh