Disasters happen, and often times they can be unpredictable. Fortunately, having properly outfitted emergency preparedness kits on-site can not only help you mitigate the potential damages caused by a disaster but can help you remain in compliance with CMS rules and regulations. According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), every medical facility that accepts Medicare and Medicaid should have disaster preparedness kits on-site to protect both patients and staff. These guidelines designate that certain products should be included in every disaster preparedness kit, and in this blog post, we’ll cover some of these specific items to ensure your facility is prepared for even the harshest of disasters.
While it is challenging to prepare for every potential disaster, there are specific hazards that your facility should plan for including:
- Man-made, natural, or disasters involving technology such as terrorism or a storm.
- Intentional or accidental emergencies like a downed powerline or active shooter.
- Internal or external disasters such as a fire or flood.
- Events beyond the control of your facility like a pandemic.
- Disasters that have a prior warning like a hurricane
Each of these disasters can pose different damages and risks to your facility, however, preparing the essentials can go a long way in improving the safety of your patients and staff.
When putting together an emergency preparedness kit, you’ll want to compile a number of crucial supplies for your facility. These supplies range from things as simple as an emergency water supply to more nuanced equipment such as Mylar blankets and bleach. This list of essentials may look different depending on your location and the specific needs of your facility, however will typically involve supplies like water, food, first aid kits, and a portable light supply.
Ensuring a stable water supply is crucial when preparing for an emergency or disaster. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that medical facilities store at least one gallon of water per person per day. When water lines are disrupted, this emergency supply can prove useful in providing proper hydration for your patients and staff. While it can be difficult to estimate your facility’s specific needs, you should have at least 3-days’ worth of supplies for your average staff and patient capacity, or even up to two weeks if possible.
When preparing an emergency supply kit for your facility, it is important that you include plenty of non-perishable and nutritious food. These non-perishable foods include things like, granola or dried cereal, peanut butter, dried fruits, canned products, non-perishable pasteurized milk, food for infants, protein or fruit bars, and dried fruit. In terms of amount, the average adult male requires roughly 2,000 to 3,000 calories a day, while the average female needs 1,600 to 2,400 calories a day, so it is important to ensure that your supply meets this daily need for patients and staff. When preparing to store food, FEMA recommends that you store at least a three-day supply of nonperishable food per person.
Emergency situations can last for an indeterminate amount of time, and when they result in a loss of power, it can be incredibly important to have stable and portable light sources such as flashlights and portable lanterns. It is also worth noting that this lighting should be battery-powered, so as to ensure they don’t rely on a consistent mainline power source.
First Aid Kits
Even if you’re a fully supplied medical facility, it is still important to have proper first aid kits available in your emergency preparedness supply kit. These first aid kits come with a wide assortment of products from gauze to Band-Aids and antiseptic and can help you be better prepared to treat injuries, such as cuts, burns, and abrasions, that can sometimes occur during a disaster. Some additional supplies to include in a first aid kit include tourniquets, medical tape, splits, gloves/eye protection, antibiotic ointment, tweezers, scissors, and a mouthpiece to be used for administering CPR.
Beyond just the basics such as water and non-perishable foods, there are also other additional supplies that facilities should consider when putting together an emergency preparedness kit. While these may not be essential, they can expand on the protection offered and be incredibly useful during times of disaster and emergency.
When other methods of communication are disrupted, medical facilities should rely on radio to contact other facilities and those attempting to provide relief. Emergency radio systems should be battery-powered to protect against the possibility of lost power. Additionally, your staff should be adequately trained on how to properly operate the radio system to contact emergency personnel.
Depending on the situation, an ample supply of mylar blankets can prove to be incredibly useful. Thanks to their heat retention, water resistance, and wind resistance, mylar blankets can act as both a source of warmth and protection from the elements. Mylar blankets also have substantial heat reflection, with the capability to withstand up to 302 degrees Fahrenheit.
While your facility may already have plenty of disinfectants on hand, having an additional supply in your emergency preparedness kit can help. Bleach is an effective disinfecting agent and can be used to eradicate mold and mildew, and can also be utilized to clean and protect against viruses during a pandemic or outbreak.
How CNECT GPO Can Help Your Facility Prepare for an Emergency
CNECT is a group purchasing organization (GPO) that can assist in gathering the resources and materials necessary to put together an emergency preparedness kit. Through our comprehensive roster of over 3,000 contracts from industry-leading suppliers, we’ll give you access to savings opportunities and supply-chain optimization strategies that can ensure your disaster kits are adequately sourced. As a CNECT member, you’ll also be granted access to exclusive educational webinars and weekly newsletters that cover a broad range of topics, including disaster preparedness. Contact a CNECT representative today to learn more about becoming a member.