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Hospital Preparedness Exercises Guidebook

Public Health Emergency Preparedness

This resource was part of AHRQ's Public Health Emergency Preparedness program, which was discontinued on June 30, 2011, in a realignment of Federal efforts.

This information is for reference purposes only. It was current when produced and may now be outdated. Archive material is no longer maintained, and some links may not work. Persons with disabilities having difficulty accessing this information should contact us at: Let us know the nature of the problem, the Web address of what you want, and your contact information.

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The Hospital Preparedness Exercises Guidebook is meant to accompany the Hospital Preparedness Exercises Atlas of Resources and Tools as a reference for those using the Atlas to plan, conduct, and evaluate hospital preparedness exercises. The guidebook addresses preparedness exercise-related requirements for Federal funding and hospital accreditation. It is intended for use in planning, conducting, and evaluating such exercises, with the goal of improving hospital emergency preparedness programs. It also can serve as a resource for senior leadership to help increase institutional commitment to provide the necessary resources for successful preparedness exercises.

For more information on resources and tools that can be used to help with the preparedness exercise process, please refer to the Hospital Preparedness Exercises Atlas of Resources and Tools.

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Using This Guidebook

This guidebook is designed to assist hospital preparedness exercise coordinators in planning, conducting, and evaluating exercises. It provides cross-references to resources and tools that may be useful in these activities; however, it should not be used as a sole reference for preparedness exercises.


The focus of the guidebook is hospital preparedness exercises, an important component of a hospital emergency preparedness program. The contents reflect exercise guidance for U.S. hospitals as of 2009.

Target Audience

The guidebook is intended for anyone planning, conducting, or evaluating a hospital preparedness exercise. It is expected to be particularly helpful to a novice hospital preparedness coordinator.

Hospitals Addressed

Material in this guidebook addresses the needs of a range of hospitals, including acute care and critical access hospitals, as well as those that are accredited, and those that are not.

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The information on this page is archived and provided for reference purposes only.


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