Standards Q&A: Mass Disaster and Man-Down Events in Facilities with Multiple Buildings
Q: Our facility has one medical unit that serves multiple buildings on the same campus. Health services staff work out of the medical unit and respond to various buildings for med pass and emergency calls. Do we need to do a mass disaster and man-down drill in each individual building to be in compliance with Standard D-07 Emergency Services and Response Plan?
A: Re: mass disasters, based on your clinic and campus structure, an annual mass disaster drill or event encompassing multiple buildings would sufficiently meet this standard, as long as all buildings participate in the drill. When mass disruption occurs on a campus as you describe yours, it will typically affect multiple, if not all, buildings on the campus that house incarcerated individuals. Emergency preparedness for mass disasters is usually seen as a campuswide event, with campuswide training protocols. Each building may have its own specific measures to follow; however, when one building is affected with a mass disaster situation, it is common that all buildings on the campus are operationally affected in some capacity, even if that means an unintended emergency lockdown and formal count of the incarcerated population and staff.
Re: man-down events, based on your clinic and campus structure, unlike with mass disaster drills, annual man-down drills are required within each individual building to ensure staff in each building know how to respond. The rationale for this has to do with man-down events affecting one individual who needs immediate medical intervention. These instances are isolated to the location in which the medical emergency occurs and any subsequent movement of that patient. When a facility has multiple separate housing units on the same campus, man-down responses are unique to the specific building and usually do not involve operational or staffing needs (other than health care staff) from other buildings. Staff within each facility have protocols for responding to these emergencies and are required to practice their response annually.
Wendy Habert, MBA, CCHP, is NCCHC’s director of accreditation. Send your standards-related questions to [email protected].