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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 194360 Find in a Library
Title: Talking to Each Other in a Crisis
Journal: Joint Commission Perspectives  Volume:21  Issue:12  Dated:December 2001  Pages:16-17
Corporate Author: Joint Cmssn on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations
United States of America
Editor(s): Helen Fry
Date Published: December 2001
Page Count: 2
Sponsoring Agency: Joint Cmssn on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations
Oakbrook Terrace, IL 60181
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: News/Media
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article stresses the importance of backup communications during a disaster.
Abstract: The advice of those that have experienced recent disasters is to not rely on just one form of emergency communication. During the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the cell bands were overloaded by users trying to contact loved ones feared missing at the crash sites. Cell phones may also be vulnerable to weather-related incidents. A more common issue is that cell towers can’t handle the volume of calls during an emergency. Two-way radios played a role in maintaining both internal and external communications in the wake of the terrorist attack in New York City, as well as ham radio, combination cell and two-way telephones, broadcast fax, and email. Health care organizations must consider separately internal and external communications issues in their emergency plans. As part of the emergency management plan, organizations need to develop options for communications equipment and train staff to use them before a disaster strikes. Organizations must communicate frequently with staff members so they have accurate knowledge of the disaster. Staff members need to know how the organization plans to meet their personal needs. Staff members also need to communicate with their own families during a time of crisis. The patient medical record is an important piece of internal communication during regular operations as well as emergency situations. Because medical records are such a crucial form of communication, an organization must consider having a representative from this area on the facility’s emergency management team. How an organization will communicate with community and national disaster agencies must be established well before an emergency occurs to ensure smooth transitions. This includes patients, employees, incident director, emergency medical services, field treatment teams, the media, and public utility facilities. Organizations especially need to know what to say and how to say it when communicating with the outside world and the news media. Experts recommend establishing a “baseline of knowledge” that outlines what is known to be true about the situation.
Main Term(s): Emergency communications; Healthcare
Index Term(s): Communications; Contingency planning; Disaster procedures; Emergency procedures; Telecommunications
Note: Downloaded April 26, 2002
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