Development of evaluation modules for use in hospital disaster drills

Mollie W Jenckes, Christina L Catlett, Edbert B Hsu, Karen Kohri, Gary B Green, Karen A Robinson, Eric B Bass, Sara E Cosgrove
American Journal of Disaster Medicine 2007, 2 (2): 87-95

INTRODUCTION: Disaster drills are a valuable means of training healthcare providers to respond to mass casualty incidents resulting from acts of terrorism or public health crises. We present here a proposed hospital-based disaster drill evaluation tool that is designed to identify strengths and weaknesses of hospital disaster drill response, provide a learning opportunity for disaster drill participants, and promote integration of lessons learned into future responses.

METHODS: Clinical specialists, experienced disaster drill coordinators and evaluators, and experts in questionnaire design developed the evaluation modules based upon a comprehensive review of the literature, including evaluations of disaster drills. The tool comprises six evaluation modules designed to capture strengths and weaknesses of different aspects of hospital disaster response. The Predrill Module is completed by the hospital during drill planning and is used to define the scope of the exercise. The Incident Command Center Module assesses command structure, communication between response areas and the command center, and communication to outside agencies. The Triage Zone Module captures the effect of a physical space on triage activities, efficiency of triage operations, and victim flow. The Treatment Zone Module assesses the relation of the zone's physical characteristics to treatment activities, efficacy of treatment operations, adequacy of supplies, and victim flow. A Decontamination Zone Module is available for evaluating decontamination operations and the use of decontamination and/or personal protective equipment in drills that involve biological or radiological hazardous materials. The Group Debriefing Module provides sample discussion points for drill participants in all types of drills. The tool also has addenda to evaluate specifics for 1) general observation and documentation, 2) victim tracking, 3) biological incidents, and 4) radiological incidents.

CONCLUSION: This evaluation tool will help meet the need for standardized evaluation of disaster drills. The modular approach offers flexibility and could be used by hospitals to evaluate staff training on response to natural or man-made disasters.

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