Patient Safety Quarterly

Sources for help in creating a disaster plan

Most people who create disaster plans for their practices go it alone. But there is help out there in developing plans. Roseann Gilchrist, practice administrator at Orthopedic Consultants Medical Group in Encino, CA, says she went to the California Occupational Safety and Health Administration in Sacramento with her draft plan. Other sources include:

Local fire or police department. Fire or police personnel can often provide vital information, says Sheila Campbell, financial counselor at Cardiology Consultants in Pensacola, FL. For instance, her safety officer told Campbell that she should provide fire and police departments with up-to-date architectural plans of the building. Those can be loaded into a computer at the fire and police departments and assist fire fighters, search and rescue efforts, or attempts to secure a building that is under threat from an armed person, she says.

Local hospitals. Campbell also used her local hospital emergency response committee in plan development. "They are almost always willing to share information with you," she says.

Specialty books, videos, and magazines. Gilchrist says she made great use of Heaton Publications in Albertville, AL, which has a book, OSHA Hazard Communication Plan Policy and Procedure Manual with CD. The cost is $129 plus $5 shipping, and can be ordered by calling (800) 221-2469; web: Campbell says the Weather Channel offers videos on disasters that she uses as part of employee orientation. A list of videos and the order form are available by calling (800) 250-5985, ext. 20. She also subscribes to Disaster Recovery Journal, a publication which sponsors seminars twice a year on disaster preparedness.

For more information, call (314) 894-0276; web:

Liability insurance carriers. Your insurance company also may have resources you can use, or it could ascertain whether your plan meets minimum requirements, Gilchrist says.