Q: How critical is having an up-to-date emergency management/disaster plan for providers?

A:It is important for emergency management plans, policies and procedures to be up-to-date and ready for immediate implementation during an emergency or disaster. Also, there are federal, state and local rules and regulations requiring providers to be ready to manage adverse events with formal protocols and contingencies. 

Q: What emergency situations should keep providers on high alert as winter approaches?

A: Under federal regulations for skilled nursing facilities and as a best practice for other providers, facilities should utilize a formalized process known as Hazard Vulnerability Assessment to identify the unique hazards and perils that can impact their individual facility both internally and externally. 

Q: In California, a long-term care facility recently was able to evacuate quickly amid a fast-approaching wildfire. How were staff so good?

A: The successful, emergency evacuation of this particular facility was clearly due to the levels of preparedness and leadership that had to be in place at the time of this incident. Training, drills and exercises played a role in cultivating staff to a level of readiness that allowed them to execute fast.