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Emergencies - Part 2

Be Ready - In Part 1 we discussed the first steps towards preparing for emergencies. We continue that discussion in part two.

At a minimum your Emergency Action Plan (EAP) should include the following:

  1. Procedures for all the different potential emergencies you have identified.
  2. Names of those trained for medical emergencies, as well as the location of first aid kits, respirators, Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs), etc.
  3. Procedures and individuals responsible for protecting electronic patient records and other essential records of the practice both on and off-site.
  4. Infection control guidelines, as well as universal precautions for protection from blood- borne pathogens. Note the location of gloves and masks, if they are to be used. Identify proper containment and disposal of bio-hazardous waste, especially needles and syringes, if present.
  5. An evacuation policy and procedure. Mention any alarms systems that might be activated. Designate a chain of command and which individual is to call the fire department, ambulance, police station, etc.
  6. Emergency escape routes for each area of the practice. If you have them, identify safe areas. Include provision for ensuring that patients are assisted to safety, especially disabled patients and those who do not speak the same language as your office staff. You may want to include an assembly location where everyone can be accounted for after an evacuation.
  7. A list of individuals responsible for shutting down water mains, gas lines, propane lines, fuse boxes, etc, before evacuating. Mention which individuals are to operate fire extinguishers. Be sure these individuals receive proper training for use of the extinguishers on a regular basis
  8. A list of the names and phone numbers of all staff (doctors and paraoptometrics) with phone numbers, names and numbers of next of kin, and medical information.
  9. Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) for any hazardous chemicals used or stored in the practice. You can get these from the manufacturer of each product.
  10. Once you have established your EAP in writing, train everyone in the practice. Post signs and posters indicating the location of safety equipment, earthquake supply kits, exit routes, etc. Be sure everyone knows where your EAP Manual will be kept. Have a safety drill at regular intervals to be sure that everyone knows the proper procedures; set the scenario for a different type of emergency each time.

This may seem like a tremendously time-consuming project to take on, but in an emergency you will be very glad that all the details are in place. Here's wishing you a safe and predictable years to come!

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