CHA News Article

Disaster Planning Conference Helps Elevate Hospital Readiness
Shared experiences and lessons learned help attendees prepare for challenges

Nearly 800 health care professionals, disaster planners, and first responders came together for CHA’s Disaster Planning for California Hospitals conference this week (view slideshow). From a pre-conference workshop dedicated to wildfire threats, to a keynote address on lessons learned during the 2017 hurricanes and general sessions on cyberattacks and mass shootings, expert speakers discussed the details of preparing for — and recovering from — a wide range of disasters. The conference explored how to overcome logistical challenges, leverage resources, and maintain high levels of patient care in difficult situations. More than 50 speakers shared personal experiences and blueprints for improved planning.

“As we make our way through yet another devastating wildfire season and brace for the next inevitable crisis,” said Cheri Hummel, CHA’s vice president of emergency management and facilities, “it is imperative that we learn from each other’s experiences to provide the greatest levels of care possible. These efforts to prepare for disaster situations will better position California’s hospitals to serve their patients and communities through the most challenging times.”

In addition to opening and closing keynote presentations and two general sessions, 15 breakout sessions featured speakers sharing experiences of working through disasters in the past year. Key themes included overcoming logistical challenges to transport vulnerable patients, establishing public/private relationships to best use available resources, and the importance of practice drills and adhering to communications protocols throughout disaster events. The conference is the largest gathering of hospital emergency preparedness professionals in the state.