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Predisaster Drill Activities (PDAs) may act as predictors of preparedness, but have been studied inadequately. To address this gap, a descriptive study of PDAswas conducted at two large hospitals.
A longitudinal study was conducted at two large academic hospitals (A: a tertiary care university hospital, and B: an urban, municipal, Level-1 Trauma Center) in Brooklyn, New York. Both were equipped with disaster plans. Over a period of five weeks preceding a full-scale drill of a simulated pandemic influenza outbreak, eight sequential public health alerts were issued. Hospital responses to pre-identified components were recorded: (1) training; (2) equipment; (3) communications; (4) incident command centers; (5) supplies; (6) staffing; (7) infection control measures; and (8) miscellaneous. A descriptive statistical analysis was performed.
The overall response rate to all die alerts for Hospital A was 67%, while that for Hospital B was 40% (p <0.009).The median delay in responding to alerts for Hospital A was six days (range = 0–19 days), and B was seven days (range = 0–21 days). Training was die most frequendy cited component (n = 20), however the median delays (days) were two (range = 0–13), and nine (range = 4–21) for hospitals A and B, respectively. Responses to communications, supplies and incident command center components were delayed or inadequate. Some additional unexpected responses such as supplemental meetings (n = 4) and additional infection control measures (n = 3) were elicited at both hospitals.
There were disparate responses to identical triggers at similar sites. Pre-disaster Drill Activities may help identify emergency response preparedness gaps and augment available resources for optimal utilization.