7 things you need to know...and why you need to know them
#1. Understand the broad scope of threats and trends in your community. Know what your local responders and emergency planners working on and what your community plans call for.
Why? Best reason why is to be a better prepared citizen, parent, [nurse] [medic]. You’ll be able to carry out your duties (at any level) during times of crisis and add to the success of the response.
#2. Know your internal emergency plans. Know your role within the plan and how crisis situations change the way you do what you do every day. Know what triggers your emergency plans to be put into action and when to shift from your standard of care to sufficiency of care. Consider what will change when you have to shelter in place or evacuate.
Why? There may not be time to look things up during a crisis situation and the event will most likely change quickly. Being familiar with your plans ahead of time cuts down on reaction time and contributes to good outcomes. That is, lives saved...yours and your [patients] [citizens] If you’re
#3 Have a basic understanding of the Hospital Incident Command System.
Why? You will have to work within the HICS system during any crisis and you might be put into a lead role at some point. A basic awareness of the HICS and how to carry out the various functional positions within it will go a long way to success in the small scale and large scale of the event.
#4. Know the special resources of your institution and those around you.
Why? Knowing what specialties services are available gives you an idea of how certain cases will be triage into your system. You may also get an idea of the type of patients you can expect when a specialty hospital (burn unit, trauma or cardiac center) is over-run or has to evacuate. conversely, you can get a head of the decision making for sending your patients out to other appropriate facilities if you know their capabilities.
#5. Know how to prepare yourself and your family for community emergencies...and do it.
Why? The best way to prepare a community for disasters is to prepare the citizens. Well prepared citizens and communities lead to improved outcomes in disaster situations. On the professional side, having a prepared family means that we can continue to go to work and do our jobs better. Keeping staff coming back to work in times of crisis is a major concern. The best way to improve the numbers of people coming back to work is to help them prepare their families to shelter or evacuate as needed during crisis.
#6. Recognize incident indicators, signs/symptoms and heralding events that foretell a problem. In other words, pay attention to what's going on around you...even when you're off duty.
Why? You situational awareness may be all that stands between you and harm. Someone has to be the first to recognize danger signs...don't wait for someone else to tell you there's a problem...
#7. Get better accuainted with your Personal Protective Equipment. Even the stuff you use every day
Why? Some research has suggested that personal protective equipment may not be utilized properly and that annual training is not enough. Without regular and on-going practice, the PPE we have may not be used, or worse, used improperly.