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Evaluation of Hospital Disaster Drills: A Module-Based Approach

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.

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Hospitals must be prepared to respond to natural and manmade mass casualty incidents that may cause sudden demand on services. One of the foci of hospital disaster planning has been the use of drills to train employees in and to test aspects of hospital response. The purpose of this document is to present an approach to the evaluation of hospital disaster drills that consists of a series of evaluation modules and addendums. The value of the approach is to identify specific weaknesses that can be targeted for improvement and to promote continuing efforts to strengthen hospital disaster preparedness.

Development of the Evaluation Modules

The Johns Hopkins University Evidence-based Practice Center (EPC) used sources from the literature and current practice to design evaluation modules and associated addenda. The evaluation modules and addenda were designed to facilitate assessment of disaster response activity through documentation by trained observers in identifiable functional and geographic zones. The EPC piloted the modules in two multi-hospital regional disaster drills in the summer of 2003.

Content of the Evaluation Modules and Addenda

The evaluation approach includes modules for assessing the incident command, decontamination, triage, and treatment zones during a hospital disaster drill. The zone modules have items on time points, zone description, personnel, zone operations, communications, information flow, security, victim documentation and tracking, victim flow, personal protective equipment and safety, equipment and supplies, rotation of staff, and zone disruption. The approach also includes a module for pre-drill assessment, a module for debriefing, and addenda for biological incidents, radiation incidents, general observation and documentation, and victim tracking. This document provides detailed instructions on how to use the modules and addenda when planning and executing the evaluation of hospital disaster drills.

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