Tabletop exercises are an important step in any emergency preparedness and disaster recovery plan. These exercises include bringing together all relevant parties (e.g. fire, police, emergency management, utilities, etc.) to walk-through a scenario and discuss each step in the order they would happen during a real-life event.
The goal is to test the effectiveness and efficiency of the team and its plan. This provides the opportunity for improvement as any inefficiencies and mistakes can be uncovered. Ultimately, this will fine tune the strategy, ensuring event response is effective.
The primary difference running a table top exercise for a hospital, as opposed to say, a corporation, is incorporating the variable of patient safety. Hospitals must take patients into consideration, often very sick patients, that aren’t ambulatory and require assistance if an evacuation is ordered.
Also, hospitals need to coordinate with officials in the local community such as fire, police, public health, state, county and local officials. Where a corporation will be looking for assistance during an incident from local contacts, hospitals may be coordinating with them to receive patients or otherwise help during an event.