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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Hospital Water Damage Preparedness and Education

By the RestorationSOS Educational Staff

Water damage is one of the most common causes of internal emergencies in hospitals. It can be caused by several different things from faulty plumbing or leaking water tanks to a blocked toilet. That is why efficient and speedy recovery from such episodes relies largely on planning ahead and developing a broad contingency plan.

The following are some general guidelines for hospital emergency management planning:

  • Analyze all potential problems carefully. Having a good understanding of risks existing in the facility is crucial in order to make the right strategies.
  • All activities related to emergency preparedness should be coordinated by a central committee. In turn, each department within the hospital should create its own detailed contingency plan to be approved by the higher committee.
  • Designate individuals to activate the hospital emergency response plan. An emergency response team should also be created with a clear organization so that it can be mobilized in short notice.
  • Educate staff about the emergency plan. Make them aware of potential sources of water damage in the building so they can report problems as soon as they see them. Train staff on the hospitalís emergency procedures by conducting internal drills based on the standards or code of the institution.
  • The emergency preparedness plan must be evaluated continuously to make sure it meets the needs of the hospital.

An important part of planning is preparing countermeasures should technical systems fail. Evaluate the possibilities of systems failure. Normal means of communication could be affected by water damage. It is better to expect the worst and prepare for it than to be caught off guard. A practical countermeasure for communication system failure is to make handheld radios available in all hospital units.

Another practical measure that is very effective in emergency response is creating a checklist of what the staff should do during and after a water emergency. In a crisis situation, nobody has time to read through pages of emergency procedures, so a simple checklist is the best solution. These checklists should be distributed to all units.

Another vital element of contingency planning is identifying contractors before a water emergency happens. Form a service contract with a reliable water restoration company wherein they will agree to provide immediate response and restoration services should an emergency occur. Having this agreement means the hospital just needs to make a single call to have cleanup and restoration services started right away.

Recommended Reading
Consequences of Water Damage in Hospitals
Hospital Water Damage Recovery

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