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Chapter 29 : Emergency Management
This chapter lists emergencies and disasters that could affect the clinical laboratory. In the healthcare arena, external emergencies and disasters generally include meteorological disasters, landslides, floods, earthquakes, tsunamis, warfare, civil disorder, terrorism, and transportation accidents. Internal emergencies usually include utility failures, hazard spills, fires, bomb threats, and personnel or reagent shortages. A disaster caused by any of these events could ultimately prevent the laboratory from providing test results or services. Often the emergency management plan (EMP) developed by the laboratory is part of a larger plan for the entire healthcare organization and may be part of a regional or national EMP. The chapter identifies the elements of an EMP. The emergency operations center (EOC) represents the situational leadership that is necessary to manage the emergency, protect life and property, carry out the function of the laboratory, and assist in other areas of the facility. Communication is the most critical and difficult aspect of managing an emergency. A damage assessment should be performed as soon as possible following a disaster. Plans for the care of personnel should address the beginning, during, and aftermath of an emergency. The EMP must address ongoing monitoring of performance regarding staff knowledge and skills, level of staff participation, inspection activities, incident reporting, and interagency cooperation.