Author: Julie Brown, Institutional Market Leader, Building Solutions North America, Johnson Controls
Published: Wed, Jul 25, 2018


Healthcare facilities have the difficult responsibility of creating a comfortable and inviting environment for both patients and visitors, while maintaining its commitment to safety. In the event of an emergency such as a fire, severe weather or active shooter scenario, it’s critical to have a tried-and-true response plan to help protect and stabilize the facility and the well-being of the people involved. Moreover, healthcare facilities do not have the luxury of closing in the wake of an emergency and are responsible for taking care of victims in search of help, putting even more pressure on stabilizing operations. When these events occur, many things are out of your control, but the focus must be on mitigating vulnerabilities and ensuring damages are as minimal as possible. This concept, known as ‘resiliency’, has become an increasing priority for enterprises and municipalities and should be part of every hospitals procedures.

As part of this process, facility managers should be cognizant of the potential threats that are unique to their environments and ensure the emergency plan is realistic and provides full coverage for a variety of potential events. Here are a few areas of consideration to prepare for unforeseen challenges efficiently.

Emergency Preparedness

To maximize the safety and well-being of everyone involved, it’s critical to have a response plan in place. An emergency plan must apply to many types of anticipated situations, from a common incident like a medical emergency to something catastrophic like a hurricane or active shooter. To address this wide range of possibilities when developing a plan, facility managers should use a logical, versatile and repeatable process like a checklist of key considerations and corresponding courses of action. Execution procedures should not vary, regardless of the scale of an event, to help avoid oversights when addressing smaller incidents. Every emergency situation should be handled with careful attention to prevent further disruption and damage.

Multi-Purpose Lighting Beyond Traditional Uses

Beyond its traditional uses, lighting can play an integral role in resiliency during emergency situations and for the comfort of its visitors. Proper lighting in the patient’s room can help stimulate endorphins and provide a more relaxed, comfortable experience. Because these systems are already implemented throughout a building and the surrounding area, this existing infrastructure allows for smart improvements, such as networked LED lights, to be easily added in a cost-effective manner. Cameras, sensors and even gunshot detection devices can be installed on top of connected lights, expanding traditional lighting capabilities.

Strengthening Alternative Power Systems

Investing in components such as generators, energy storage and renewable resources is key for buildings to remain operational during power supply or equipment reliability issues. For instance, backup power systems ensure that crucial, life-saving systems, such as life support, monitors or oxygen machines, are supported during an emergency. This allows buildings to continue operations despite a larger community power outage. 

HVAC Systems for Operational Stability

Every hospital or care facility depends on a reliable HVAC system and when a heating or cooling unit fails, it greatly affects the controlled pressurization and temperature of a building and puts operations and patients at risk. Preparing and planning for an emergency that can cause building wide disruptions is a crucial step in stabilizing the well-being of occupants. Ahead of an emergency, building managers must identify any critical equipment that, if failed, would have the greatest disruptive impact on operations overall. While some areas of the building may still be able to function without HVAC services, having a smaller area where operations can resume normal activity quicker can be key to jumpstarting recovery response.

Organizations like FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) and other local and state government agencies provide checklists and guidelines for emergency preparedness that can help a facility manager begin to develop and test a plan. Resiliency is the difference between life or death and while there is no single method that will perfectly prepare a hospital or care facility for an emergency, taking proactive steps to institute an efficient and adaptable plan is essential. 

Healthcare facilities have the difficult responsibility of creating a comfortable and inviting environment for both patients and visitors, while maintaining its commitment to safety. In the event of an emergency such as a fire, severe weather or active shooter scenario, it’s critical to have a tried-and-true response plan to help protect and stabilize the facility and the well-being of the people involved. Moreover, healthcare facilities do not have the luxury of closing in the wake of an emergency and are responsible for taking care of victims in search of help, putting even more pressure on stabilizing operations. When these events occur, many things are out of your control, but the focus must be on mitigating vulnerabilities and ensuring damages are as minimal as possible. This concept, known as ‘resiliency’, has become an increasing priority for enterprises and municipalities and should be part of every hospitals procedures.

As part of this process, facility managers should be cognizant of the potential threats that are unique to their environments and ensure the emergency plan is realistic and provides full coverage for a variety of potential events. Here are a few areas of consideration to prepare for unforeseen challenges efficiently.

Emergency Preparedness

To maximize the safety and well-being of everyone involved, it’s critical to have a response plan in place. An emergency plan must apply to many types of anticipated situations, from a common incident like a medical emergency to something catastrophic like a hurricane or active shooter. To address this wide range of possibilities when developing a plan, facility managers should use a logical, versatile and repeatable process like a checklist of key considerations and corresponding courses of action. Execution procedures should not vary, regardless of the scale of an event, to help avoid oversights when addressing smaller incidents. Every emergency situation should be handled with careful attention to prevent further disruption and damage.

Multi-Purpose Lighting Beyond Traditional Uses

Beyond its traditional uses, lighting can play an integral role in resiliency during emergency situations and for the comfort of its visitors. Proper lighting in the patient’s room can help stimulate endorphins and provide a more relaxed, comfortable experience. Because these systems are already implemented throughout a building and the surrounding area, this existing infrastructure allows for smart improvements, such as networked LED lights, to be easily added in a cost-effective manner. Cameras, sensors and even gunshot detection devices can be installed on top of connected lights, expanding traditional lighting capabilities.

Strengthening Alternative Power Systems

Investing in components such as generators, energy storage and renewable resources is key for buildings to remain operational during power supply or equipment reliability issues. For instance, backup power systems ensure that crucial, life-saving systems, such as life support, monitors or oxygen machines, are supported during an emergency. This allows buildings to continue operations despite a larger community power outage.

HVAC Systems for Operational Stability

Every hospital or care facility depends on a reliable HVAC system and when a heating or cooling unit fails, it greatly affects the controlled pressurization and temperature of a building and puts operations and patients at risk. Preparing and planning for an emergency that can cause building wide disruptions is a crucial step in stabilizing the well-being of occupants. Ahead of an emergency, building managers must identify any critical equipment that, if failed, would have the greatest disruptive impact on operations overall. While some areas of the building may still be able to function without HVAC services, having a smaller area where operations can resume normal activity quicker can be key to jump starting recovery response.

Organizations like FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) and other local and state government agencies provide checklists and guidelines for emergency preparedness that can help a facility manager begin to develop and test a plan. Resiliency is the difference between life or death and while there is no single method that will perfectly prepare a hospital or care facility for an emergency, taking proactive steps to institute an efficient and adaptable plan is essential. 

Healthcare facilities have the difficult responsibility of creating a comfortable and inviting environment for both patients and visitors, while maintaining its commitment to safety. In the event of an emergency such as a fire, severe weather or active shooter scenario, it’s critical to have a tried-and-true response plan to help protect and stabilize the facility and the well-being of the people involved. Moreover, healthcare facilities do not have the luxury of closing in the wake of an emergency and are responsible for taking care of victims in search of help, putting even more pressure on stabilizing operations. When these events occur, many things are out of your control, but the focus must be on mitigating vulnerabilities and ensuring damages are as minimal as possible. This concept, known as ‘resiliency’, has become an increasing priority for enterprises and municipalities and should be part of every hospitals procedures.

As part of this process, facility managers should be cognizant of the potential threats that are unique to their environments and ensure the emergency plan is realistic and provides full coverage for a variety of potential events. Here are a few areas of consideration to prepare for unforeseen challenges efficiently.

Emergency Preparedness

To maximize the safety and well-being of everyone involved, it’s critical to have a response plan in place. An emergency plan must apply to many types of anticipated situations, from a common incident like a medical emergency to something catastrophic like a hurricane or active shooter. To address this wide range of possibilities when developing a plan, facility managers should use a logical, versatile and repeatable process like a checklist of key considerations and corresponding courses of action. Execution procedures should not vary, regardless of the scale of an event, to help avoid oversights when addressing smaller incidents. Every emergency situation should be handled with careful attention to prevent further disruption and damage.

Multi-Purpose Lighting Beyond Traditional Uses

Beyond its traditional uses, lighting can play an integral role in resiliency during emergency situations and for the comfort of its visitors. Proper lighting in the patient’s room can help stimulate endorphins and provide a more relaxed, comfortable experience. Because these systems are already implemented throughout a building and the surrounding area, this existing infrastructure allows for smart improvements, such as networked LED lights, to be easily added in a cost-effective manner. Cameras, sensors and even gunshot detection devices can be installed on top of connected lights, expanding traditional lighting capabilities.

Strengthening Alternative Power Systems

Investing in components such as generators, energy storage and renewable resources is key for buildings to remain operational during power supply or equipment reliability issues. For instance, backup power systems ensure that crucial, life-saving systems, such as life support, monitors or oxygen machines, are supported during an emergency. This allows buildings to continue operations despite a larger community power outage.

HVAC Systems for Operational Stability

Every hospital or care facility depends on a reliable HVAC system and when a heating or cooling unit fails, it greatly affects the controlled pressurization and temperature of a building and puts operations and patients at risk. Preparing and planning for an emergency that can cause building wide disruptions is a crucial step in stabilizing the well-being of occupants. Ahead of an emergency, building managers must identify any critical equipment that, if failed, would have the greatest disruptive impact on operations overall. While some areas of the building may still be able to function without HVAC services, having a smaller area where operations can resume normal activity quicker can be key to jumpstarting recovery response.

Organizations like FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) and other local and state government agencies provide checklists and guidelines for emergency preparedness that can help a facility manager begin to develop and test a plan. Resiliency is the difference between life or death and while there is no single method that will perfectly prepare a hospital or care facility for an emergency, taking proactive steps to institute an efficient and adaptable plan is essential. 

 


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