Mock drill points out serious gaps in disaster preparedness at PGI

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
  • Updated: Sep 16, 2014 22:36 IST

While analysing and preparing strategic planning and designing of disaster manual for the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh, the institute's administration has come across serious shortcomings.

To prepare a disaster manual for the institute, the PGIMER administration led by department of hospital administration constituted a disaster control committee. The members, including from hospital administration, clinical, diagnostic and supportive departments, worked on an initial document prepared according to the Disaster Management Act, 2005, and gave their inputs to frame a final disaster manual.

Following this two mock drills were carried out.

These drills were conducted with complete secrecy as to their nature. "The first drill revealed glaring gaps in spread of information along the defined line of command/authority and communication failure in the response of the resuscitation and treatment teams," the disaster control committee of the institute observed.

These problems led the disaster control committee to review its contingency plan by doing an analysis of the disaster manual after the first drill, and create awareness in the staff concerned as to their roles and responsibilities during the event of a disaster.

Following this, the PGIMER prepared a plan addressing internal, external disasters and epidemics were prepared by the hospital administration department for information to the stakeholders concerned. This was followed by a re-review of the preparedness in a second drill two months later.

However, the second drill was effective in terms of level of response, communication and proactiveness of the staff concerned and only minor issues needed to be addressed.

Significantly, as per the Disaster Management Act, 2005, it is mandatory for government hospitals in India to prepare a disaster plan. The key components of the plan include defining the flow of patients and keeping the triage area near the disembarkation point, earmarking treatment room, resuscitation room and area for centralised incident command centre, devising an effective communication system via group SMS/phone, maintaining safety stock in predetermined disaster cabinets in emergency wards, provision for early identification and isolation of contaminated/infected patients, and ensuring effective co-ordination with other hospitals and non-governmental organisations and creation of an information desk at the reception for addressing families and media.

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