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Agency for Healthcare Research Quality

AHRQ Disaster Response Tools and Resources

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has a number of tools and resources that can be used during emergency events and natural disasters to assist in response and recovery efforts.

Personal Protective Equipment, Decontamination, Isolation/Quarantine, and Laboratory Capacity

Evidence-based, best-practice models for each of these areas are now available in Development of Models for Emergency Preparedness, a new resource from AHRQ. These emergency preparedness models can help health care professionals plan for and respond to bioterrorism events or public health emergencies.

 Go to: /research/devmodels/ to download the report.

Standardized Hospital Bed Definitions

These newly released hospital bed definitions can provide uniform terminology for organizations tracking the availability of beds in the aftermath of an emergency or natural disaster. The standardized definitions allow hospital systems and emergency responders seeking beds victims to speak the same language. Until now, definitions have varied among systems and even among hospitals.

 Go to: /research/havbed/definitions.htm to access the definitions.

The Emergency Preparedness Resource Inventory (EPRI)

This tool allows local or regional planners to assemble an inventory of critical resources such as equipment, personnel, and supplies that are useful in responding to a public health disaster. The EPRI tool can be customized to create an inventory appropriate for any region, State, or locality. It is Web-based so that all selected organizations in an area can enter information about their resources. It creates automated reports for use in preparedness and planning as well as incident response. EPRI also has extensive security protections. In addition to a Web-based software tool, EPRI includes an Implementation Report, a Technical Manual, and an Appendix.

 Go to: /research/epri/index.html to download the tool and its components.

Reopening Shuttered Hospitals to Expand Surge Capacity

This new tool can help public health and hospital officials determine how to best choose and use a formerly closed hospital or health facility to care for patients. The tool includes a surge capacity toolkit and a variety of checklists to guide planners in setting up management teams, assessing facilities, choosing staff, hiring security personnel, assessing readiness of medical equipment and supplies, and arranging for patient transport services.

 Go to: /research/shuttered/ to download the toolkit and checklists.

Recommendations for Altered Standards of Care During a Mass Casualty Event

This report, from an expert panel convened in August 2004 by AHRQ and the Department of Health and Human Services' Office of the Assistant Secretary for Public Health Emergency Preparedness, notes that it is critical to adjust current heath and medical care standards to ensure that the care provided in a mass casualty event results in saving as many lives as possible.

 Go to: /research/altstand/ to view the report.

Alternate Site Locator

The Rocky Mountain Regional Care Model for Bioterrorist Events is a tool to help State and local officials quickly locate alternate health care sites if hospitals are overwhelmed by patients due to a public health emergency such as a bioterrorist attack. The alternate care site selection tool is designed to allow regional planners to locate and rank potential alternative sites—stadiums, schools, recreation centers, motels, and other venues—based on whether they have adequate ventilation, plumbing, food supply and kitchen facilities, and other factors.

 Go to: /research/altsites.htm to download the tool.

Computer Staffing Model for Disaster Preparedness Response

This computer model can help hospitals and health systems plan antibiotic dispensing and vaccination campaigns to respond to large-scale natural disease outbreaks or localized episodes. This resource is the Nation's first computerized staffing model that is downloadable as a spreadsheet or accessible as a Web-based version. It can be used to calculate the specific needs of local health care systems based on the number of staff they have and the number of patients they would need to treat quickly in a public health emergency.

 Go to: /research/biomodel.htm to download the tool.

Health Emergency Assistance Line and Triage Hub (HEALTH) Model

This tool is designed to help planners develop a public health emergency contact center that is highly integrated with public health agencies. The tool helps to minimize surges in patient demand on the health care delivery system during a public health emergency such as Hurricane Katrina. The report helps planners determine the requirements, specifications, and resources needed for developing an emergency contact center and has a companion Contact Center Assessment Tool Set, which helps officials calculate the number of people who may try to reach a public health agency during an emergency event.

 Go to: /research/health/ to download the tool.

Additional Information

For additional information and resources that are part of AHRQ's public health preparedness response portfolio, go to: /prep/

For the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' portfolio on disaster response and public health emergencies, go to:

AHRQ Advancing Excellence in Health Care