Southern California Hospitals Collaborate on Disaster Planning
Hospitals in Southern California are collaborating on disaster preparedness plans, the Riverside Press-Enterprise reports.
State regulations require hospitals to have 24 hours of backup power in the case of a sudden loss of power during aÂ disaster.
However, most Southern California hospitals say that they have enough resources to operate for four or more days under emergency conditions.
Kim Saruwatari -- chief of emergency preparedness for Riverside County's Department of Public Health -- said how well hospitals respond to disasters is "dependent on how big the incident is. If we're talking about a community-wide power outage and we're all drawing on the same vendor supplies, we might not have the resources."
She added, "But, I think many of our hospitals have planned to be self-sufficient for longer than ... 96 hours."
Details of Hospitals' Preparations
Saruwatari said that hospitals in the region hold disaster drills to anticipate events such as:
- Bomb blasts;
- Fires; and
Scott Smith -- disaster preparedness coordinator at Arrowhead Regional Medical Center in Colton -- said most of the facility's training involves earthquake scenarios. He noted that the hospital could operate for three full weeks without power.
Details of Hospitals' Collaboration
Area hospitals shared disaster preparedness strategies at a recent California Hospital Association conference. In addition, hospital officials also discuss disaster-related issues at monthly meetings between area facilities.
According to several emergency management directors, if an emergency occurs and one hospital cannot manage its patients, the facilities have plans in place to send those patients to other hospitals nearby.Saruwatari said that hospitals' disaster preparedness plans "used to be very siloed," with each hospital taking care of itself. She said, "Now we all come together and plan for these things together," adding, "I think because [of] the strong network we have, we're in a good position to deal with emergencies" (Muckenfuss, Riverside Press-Enterprise, 11/9). This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.