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Agency for Healthcare Research Quality

Evaluation of Hospital Disaster Drills

A Module-Based Approach

Bioterrorism and Other Public Health Emergencies
Tools and Models for Planning and Preparedness

Hospitals must be prepared to respond to natural and manmade mass casualty incidents that may cause sudden demand on services. One of the foci of hospital disaster planning has been the use of drills to train employees in and to test aspects of hospital response. This tool makes it possible to evaluate hospital disaster drills by using evaluation modules and addenda. The value of this approach is to identify specific weaknesses for improvement and to promote continuing efforts to strengthen hospital disaster preparedness.

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The Johns Hopkins University Evidence-based Practice Center (EPC) used sources from both the literature and current practice when designing the evaluation modules and associated addenda. The evaluation modules and addenda were designed to facilitate assessment of disaster response activity through documentation by trained observers in identifiable functional and geographic zones. The EPC pilot tested the modules in two multihospital regional disaster drills in the summer of 2003.

The evaluation approach includes modules for assessing the incident command, decontamination, triage, and treatment zones during a hospital disaster drill. The zone modules have items on time points, zone description, personnel, zone operations, communications, information flow, security, victim documentation and tracking, victim flow, personal protective equipment and safety, equipment and supplies, rotation of staff, and zone disruption. The approach also includes a module for pre-drill assessment, a module for debriefing, and addenda for biological incidents, radiation incidents, general observation and documentation, and victim tracking.

This document provides detailed instructions on how to use the modules and addenda when planning and executing the evaluation of hospital disaster drills. It also includes a spreadsheet designed to help hospitals compile responses from the modules and compare data.

Availability of Full Report

This tool was prepared for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) by the Johns Hopkins University Evidence-based Practice Center under Contract No. 290-02-0018. Printed copies may be obtained free of charge from the AHRQ Publications Clearinghouse by calling 1-800-358-9295. Requesters should ask for Evaluation of Hospital Disaster Drills: A Module-Based Approach (AHRQ Publication No. 04-0032).

Download Information

Evaluation of Hospital Disaster Drills: A Module-Based Approach

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Technical Assistance

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More Information

If you have any questions about AHRQ's bioterrorism and health system preparedness program, contact:

Dr. Sally Phillips
Director, Public Health Emergency Preparedness Program
Center for Primary Care, Prevention, and Clinical Partnerships
Phone: (301) 427-1571

Current as of April 2004

Internet Citation:

Evaluation of Hospital Disaster Drills: A Module-Based Approach. April 2004. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.


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