When disaster strikes, will you be ready?

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YOU'RE AT THE NURSE'S station when you hear the overhead page for a disaster. You continue what you're doing as you wait for the next announcement, expecting to hear that this is a drill or an error. Again, you hear the overhead page stating your hospital is in disaster mode. You see a few physicians, a resource nurse, and a respiratory therapist run for the stairs. Your nurse manager tells you there was a big explosion in town.
Just at that moment, the command center calls and wants to know your staff-to-patient ratio and how many RNs and unlicensed assistive personnel your unit can send to the ED. Do you know your role in a disaster?
Knowing your hospital's disaster plan is key to surviving what could potentially be a very long day, week, or weeks. One of the goals of Healthy People 2020 is preparedness to improve the nation's ability to prevent, prepare for, respond to, and recover from a disaster. The goal is to empower individuals and ensure awareness.1 To be prepared at all times requires vigilance and familiarity with your institution's disaster plan. As discussed here, this is best accomplished by developing, maintaining, and practicing the plan at work.
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