This new tool helps evaluate disaster plans

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) has produced an evidence-based tool to help hospitals evaluate their disaster training drills. Called "Evaluation of Hospital Disaster Drills: A Module-Based Approach," it is designed to help hospitals identify strengths and weaknesses in their responses during a disaster drill.

The new tool is based on several key principles, including the need to plan drill objectives, train observers, document drill activities, and debrief all participants. Its evaluation modules are designed to capture all phases of drill activities, such as pre-drill planning and recording activities in each area of the hospital including incident command, decontamination, triage, and treatment.

The tool is available from the agency as a notebook with accompanying CD-ROM. The CD version of the modules includes a spreadsheet designed to help compile responses from the modules and compare data on topics such as how the hospital performs on repeated exercises, how different parts of the hospital perform on the same factors, or how different hospitals perform when participating in the same drill.

Copies of the tool are available at no charge on the AHRQ web site: If you have any questions about AHRQ’s bioterrorism and health system preparedness program, contact: Sally Phillips, MD, Director, Bioterrorism Preparedness Research Program, Center for Primary Care, Prevention, and Clinical Partnerships. Phone: (301) 427-1571. E-mail: