Emergency and Disaster Preparedness V3 EN
An emergency is a life-threatening event that requires immediate action, but is usually contained. A disaster is a more widespread event, overwhelming entire communities. The United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction defines a disaster as ‘a serious disruption of the functioning of a community or a society causing widespread human, material, economic or environmental losses which exceed the ability of the affected community or society to cope using its own resources.
Emergencies and disasters include a variety of hazardous situations that may occur inside or outside the organization. These include, but are not limited to fire, natural disasters (e.g. floods, earthquakes), industrial accidents (e.g. train derailments), chemical spills, radiation exposure, threats of personal violence, acts of terrorism, and public health emergencies such as outbreaks and pandemics. Health services organizations play a vital role in responding to emergencies and disasters. Therefore, even when emergencies and disasters occur outside the organization, health services organizations must be ready to respond to such events. The processes for preparing for, responding to and recovering from both emergencies and disasters are similar. Internationally, there are several terms used to define this process, such as disaster planning, emergency management, and emergency preparedness. Accreditation Canada uses the term emergency and disaster preparedness, and employs the following definition from the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction:
“The organization and management of resources and responsibilities for dealing with all aspects of emergencies, in particularly preparedness, response and rehabilitation.”
These standards are designed for acute care organizations, so that they can function in a comprehensive and coordinated way in the event of an emergency or disaster. A comprehensive approach to emergency and disaster preparedness includes mitigating the risks associated with an emergency or disaster, properly preparing, responding, and recovering from an emergency and disaster. Communication is a critical component that links and supports all phases of emergency and disaster preparedness.
The Emergency & Disaster Preparedness Standards contain the following subsections:
- Investing in Emergency and Disaster Preparedness
- Having the Right People
- Preparing for Emergencies and Disasters
- Responding to Emergencies and Disasters
- Recovering from Emergencies and Disasters
- Having a Positive Impact on Outcomes