The Howard County Fire Department is a full-service agency that is devoted to providing fire protection, medical assistance, rescue, response to hazardous materials, and other services to the public. With around 600 personnel, the department is committed to ensuring safety and compliance with regulations and standards. To this end, they regularly review their emergency preparedness plans. The first step in the review process is to identify and assess risks related to the wastewater system of the facility.
This includes having an administrator, director of nursing, plant manager, and food service manager involved in developing the plan and carrying out the risk assessment. The department also takes into account any additional risks posed by the local environment. For instance, they consider how a natural disaster such as a hurricane could affect their operations. The department also includes transplant centers in their emergency preparedness planning and program. This ensures that patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) receive timely medical care in the event of an emergency.
A study conducted after Hurricane Sandy found a significant increase in emergency department visits, hospitalizations, and 30-day mortality among ESRD patients living in areas most affected by the storm. The department also recognizes the importance of drills and exercises in determining the effectiveness of an emergency plan. However, they understand that performing drills and exercises in a hospice environment can be time consuming and disruptive to patient care. To address this issue, they have developed policies and procedures that ensure drills are conducted in a way that minimizes disruption. The Howard County Fire Department is dedicated to ensuring safety and compliance with regulations and standards. To this end, they regularly review their disaster preparedness plans to identify risks and ensure that patients receive timely medical care in the event of an emergency.
Through drills and exercises, they are able to determine the effectiveness of their plans while minimizing disruption to patient care.