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.
Goal of Tabletop Exercises
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 Ten Step Model to Designing an Effective Tabletop Exercise
Tabletop Exercises for Healthcare
Tabletop exercises are a staple in emergency planning no matter what industry you’re in. From corporations to hospitals everyone should take time annually to review their plans and do a walk-through via a table top drill.
In fact, for hospitals and healthcare systems, the CMS Emergency Preparedness Guidelines require you to perform two drills per year – one must be active, but the 2nd drill can be a table top drill.
Why Healthcare Tabletop Exercises are Different
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.