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Hospital Surge Model Version 1.3

Public Health Emergency Preparedness

This resource was part of AHRQ's Public Health Emergency Preparedness (PHEP) 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 It was current when produced and may now be outdated. Archive material is no longer maintained, and some links may not work.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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User Manual

Prepared by: Tom Rich, Rocco Casagrande, Nathaniel Hupert, and Myfanwy Callahan.

The AHRQ Hospital Surge Model estimates the resources needed in your hospital(s) to treat casualties resulting from specific biological, chemical, nuclear, radiological, foodborne, or conventional explosive scenarios. For the selected scenario, the model estimates the number of casualties and the required hospital resources to treat the casualties.

This User Manual guides the user through the steps involved in running the Hospital Surge Model to select an available scenario, specify the number and/or type of casualties, and examine the output.


Step 1: Select a Scenario
Step 2: Specify Number and/or Type of Casualties
Step 3: Examine the Output


The AHRQ Hospital Surge Model estimates the resources needed in your hospital(s) to treat casualties resulting from the following scenarios:

  • Biological (anthrax, smallpox, or pandemic flu, pneumonic plague).
  • Chemical (chlorine, sulfur mustard, or sarin).
  • Nuclear (1 KT or 10 KT explosion).
  • Radiological (dispersion device or point source).
  • Foodborne (botulinum neurotoxin).
  • Conventional explosive (improvised explosive device).

When you run the Hospital Surge Model, you select one of the above scenarios and specify the number of casualties that your hospital(s) will have to treat. In the model, these patients are treated, as necessary, in the emergency department (ED), in the intensive care unit (ICU), or on a general medical/surgical bed ward ("the floor"). Eventually, casualties in the model are either discharged or die in your hospital(s). The Hospital Surge Model estimates the amount of resources (e.g., personnel, equipment, supplies) the casualties require while they are in your hospital(s). The model assumes that medical care is not degraded by the surge in patients or by resource constraints.

What the Hospital Surge Model Estimates

For the selected scenario, the Hospital Surge Model estimates:

  • The number of casualties in your hospital(s) by hospital unit (ED, ICU, or floor) and day.
  • The cumulative number of dead or discharged casualties by day.
  • The required hospital resources (personnel, equipment, and supplies) to treat casualties by resource, hospital unit, and day.

How to Run the Hospital Surge Model

The Hospital Surge Model is available at Running the Hospital Surge Model involves three steps:

Additional Information

For a complete discussion of the Hospital Surge Model and its assumptions, go to the "Hospital Surge Model Description", which is available on the Hospital Surge Model Web site (

Funding and leadership to support "Hospital Surge Model" was provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response through Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) contracts to Abt Associates Inc. (Contract Nos. 290-20-0600-011I and HHSA290200600011I).

The opinions or points of view expressed in this document are those of the authors and do not reflect the official position of AHRQ or the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

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