The Importance of Emergency Preparedness

The Importance of Emergency Preparedness

I would like to begin by thanking everyone for their prompt attention to our Code Red and Code Green eLearning modules over the past few weeks.  Safety of our patients, staff, credentialed staff and volunteers is a top priority for OSMH and our collective commitment to Emergency Preparedness is one of the ways we are living our values.

Why Is Emergency Preparedness Important

Being prepared is essential to ensuring safety of patients, staff, credentials staff and volunteers.  It is also important for ensuring the most efficient response methods for any given emergency to ensure a timely and effective response.  On the flip side, there are widespread risks of not being prepared; primarily safety, but also legal, financial and reputational risks that all increase with lack of preparedness.

OSMH ensures that each code event, mock or real, is responded to with a standardized methodology, widely used in hospitals and other emergency / healthcare organizations known as the “Incident Management System” or IMS.  The IMS methodology allows OSMH to quickly enact roles and responsibilities throughout the organization in a consistent fashion.  The diagram to the right is the standard IMS structure with OSMH roles included.

Emergency Preparedness Process

Much like the model of Plan, Do, Study, Act (PDSA), emergency preparedness follows a similar process of continuous improvement and learning.  At OSMH, we fulfill our commitment to continuous improvement through mock exercises and ongoing review of code policy, procedure and education.  Each mock is followed by a debrief regarding lessons learned and opportunities for improvement are put into action.


Emergency preparedness is a requirement under Accreditation Canada.  Under secton 14, the organization must be prepared for diasasters and emergencies including education to staff and plans to prevent and mitigate emergencies as well as how OSMH can plan for continuity of essential operations, while dealing with emergencyes (aka Business Continuity Plan).  Accountability for ensuring compliance with these standards sits with the Emergency Preparedness Committee.

Our Collective Responsibilities

Much like health and safety, we all have a responsibility to support emergency preparedness.  I encourage everyone to ensure they are familiar with all organizational emergency response codes.  Information on all OSMH hospital codes is available on MedworxxeLearning or via the departmental colour coded flip charts.

Author: Tom Roberts, OSMH Chief Financial Officer and Vice President, Corporate Services