Tips for Veterinary Hospital Disaster Preparedness

August 31, 2020

4 Tips for Veterinary Hospital Disaster Preparedness

Hope for the best. Plan for the worst.

Hope for the best. Plan for the worst.

In the hustle and bustle of the days and weeks, has emergency preparedness been placed on the back burner? September is National Preparedness Month . This is a great time to make it a yearly habit to review these 4 tips for continuity, peace of mind and assurance.

1) Identify a Safety Director

Your team, patients, and clients are best served when one person takes on the role of a Safety Director. This is no small task. Assign the title to someone who is mature, reliable, and dedicated to the cause. Duties may include implementing the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) regulations, designing emergency plans, team training, networking with local and state agencies, and overseeing communications in times of disaster.

2) Create & PRACTICE emergency response plan

The creation of an emergency plan may include identifying threats (natural and man-made), listing and purchasing emergency supplies, defining Crisis Team Leaders, identifying a meeting place, reviewing business back-up process, mapping evacuation routes, and MUCH MORE. Annually (or more often), with the entire health care team, practice an emergency drill. Allow for plenty of time to debrief the drill, their concerns and questions. Consider training with a local agency, such as the fire department or Animal Response Team.

3) Protect your financial and patient record data

If your hospital was destroyed tomorrow, are you confident you can retrieve your financial data and patient records? If you answered, “Yes,” are you sure? Identify and work with a trusted company and software that accommodates your needs. Consider conducting a Business Impact Analysis, identifying burdens placed upon your hospital during the recovery after an emergency.

4) Review your insurance coverage

Is your hospital covered in the case of an emergency? While attending local meetings with veterinary hospital managers, it is evident that hospitals may be underinsured in the case of natural disasters, biological threats, or hazardous situations. Beyond property damage, you may consider business interruption coverage, which may ensure your hospital continues operating after the disaster. Annually, review your insurance coverage with your trusted insurance agent.

These are just a few tips for veterinary hospital disaster preparedness. There are loads more as you can imagine! If you are overwhelmed with the thought of creating an emergency plan, reach out to local, state or national associations. In addition, CATALYST VetPC can help with ideas.

Whatever you choose to do, do something! Don’t let emergency preparedness be moved to the back burner.

Yours in Emergency Preparedness,

Rebecca Rose, CVT



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