Emergency preparedness toolkit for community health centers and community practice sites

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Toolkit
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Columbia University's Emergency Preparedness Toolkit provides streamlined information, tools, and templates to encourage continuity of operations planning for Community Health Centers (CHCs) from start to finish. The toolkit provides readable information on key areas of preparedness, including CHC roles, a probable planning cycle, local hazard assessments, resource and capacity assessments, how to develop an emergency plan, staff training tips, and guidance on how to conduct exercises and evaluations. The chapters on developing a plan, conducting exercises, and evaluating preparedness contain especially detailed templates and helpful tips on planning aspects that may not be obvious. The appendices contain a variety of tools, including hazard vulnerability analysis forms and scales, an emergency response plan template, job action sheets, an exercise flow chart, and sample exercise evaluation questions. The most extensive and detailed templates, however, are contained and explained within the text of the toolkit.

One reviewer noted that the guide fills a current gap in pandemic planning, due to its focus on outpatient operations and preparedness issues that may particularly affect CHCs. The toolkit provides options for how a CHC can respond during an emergency (e.g., closing or remaining open), along with various capacities to fill if a clinic decides to remain open. CHCs may need to supplement the toolkit with their own planning considerations, since one reviewer found that it did not provide a significant amount of operational details. The toolkit recognizes that response is a collaborative activity and encourages CHCs to work with other governmental, clinical, and community organizations during the planning phase.

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