Hospitals play a critical role in providing communities with essential medical care during all types of disaster. Depending on their scope and nature, disasters can lead to a rapidly increasing service demand that can overwhelm the functional capacity and safety of hospitals and the health-care system at large. The World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe has developed the Hospital emergency response checklist to assist hospital administrators and emergency managers in responding effectively to the most likely disaster scenarios. This tool comprises current hospital-based emergency management principles and best practices and integrates priority action required for rapid, effective response to a critical event based on an all-hazards approach. The tool is structured according to nine key components, each with a list of priority action to support hospital managers and emergency planners in achieving:
* continuity of essential services;
* well-coordinated implementation of hospital operations at every level;
* clear and accurate internal and external communication;
* swift adaptation to increased demands;
* the effective use of scarce resources; and
* a safe environment for health-care workers.
References to selected supplemental tools, guidelines and other applicable resources are provided. The principles and recommendations included in this tool may be used by hospitals at any level of emergency preparedness. The checklist is intended to complement existing multisectoral hospital emergency management plans and, when possible, augment standard operating procedures during non-crisis situations.