A Hospital’s surge of patients during a disaster depends largely on having an adequate number of personnel to provide care. Studies conducted since 1991 have indicated that health care personnel may not be willing to work in all disaster situations. The current evidence highlights certain factors relating to an unwillingness to work and provide care for patients. These include type of disaster, concern for family, concerns about personal safety, pet care needs and lack of personal protective equipment.

Surge response in medical facilities depends on the availability of 3 elements: personnel, equipment/supplies, and structure (facilities and organization). All 3 are important, however, response to a surge in a hospital or other health care organization cannot be successful without adequate personnel to provide patient care and other individuals to support care delivery. Therefore, it becomes imperative to better understand how hospital personnel may behave when faced with a disaster.

Here are a few tips that will help prepare staff at home so they’re more willing to provide assistants when it’s most important.

It needs to start with senior staff members leading by example. The senior leaders must drive the cultural shift to make it a priority to help educate and motivate the staff with the importance of preparation at home.

  • Employee fairs are a great way to initiate engagement with some of the vendors the facility currently works with.
  • Provide incentives for employees who are prepared at home.
  • Ask suppliers to donate or provide products to employees with discount code. Such as videos or other visual aids.
  • Give away supplies that employees can use at home
  • Make it easy for employees to purchase disaster supplies directly from the facility or a link for preferred vendors.
  • Help supply the doctors, nurses, pharmacist and other personnel with items to be prepared at home by creating a plan. Plan for food, water, other medical supplies, etc. How many days to prepare for, what type of disaster should you prepare for based upon the region.

Make A Plan

  1. Step 1: Put together a plan by discussing these 4 questions with your family, friends, or household to start your emergency plan. …
  2. Step 2: Consider specific needs in your household. Babies, Children, Elderly, Pets, …..
  3. Step 3: Fill out a Family Emergency Plan. …
  4. Step 4: Practice your plan with your family/household.


Food. FEMA recommends storing two weeks of food for every family member. The food should be non-perishable, and easily storable. https://www.fema.gov/pdf/library/f&web.pdf

Canned food is a good option since it’s already in most US households, however the majority of standard canned food items possess a 1-year shelf life. A better option is to purchase a longer-term shelf life disaster meal kit that contains both food and water. These are produced specifically with disasters both natural and manmade in mind and can stay fresh for up to 30 years.

Lastly, let employees know that the facility will take care of them if they come into work. The facility will provide healthy nutritious food and pet care if needed. As well as being prepared for an influx of patients with medical supplies and equipment to make the caregivers job as easy as possible. Let the employees know you’ll take care of them, since their family is already taken care of at home.

Attached to this article are some handouts that can help get you started when helping employees prepare at home.

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