Planning for disastrous events in emergency preparedness and emergency management tends to circle around the “big one.” Events such as hurricanes, earthquakes, active shooters and the like are often planned for, talked about and stay front and center in the media.But what about the daily risks which can cause total devastation?
Let’s take the 2017 Barclay Friends Home fire in West Chester, PA for example. This event was immediately devastating from several angles such as loss of life and loss of the building. Many facilities do not have a specific plan for dealing with a “common” event such as a fire. These types of events are often classified as routine or low risk due to building construction, fire protection systems and 24hr staffing. Recovery is simply assumed to be handled through insurance claims, rebuilding and then re-population of residents.
Now, here we are over a year later and the newly released ATF report shows that fire suppression systems within the building were bypassed causing the devastation that was witnessed. These new findings bring to light some operational issues which appear to have been missed. Was the local fire official advised of the bypassed suppression system? Was the staff providing and documenting fire watch activities during the outage? Were all these activities documented in a way that was accessible after the fire to provide evidence that they were completed? Would you be willing to assume the risk of the losing the 4 wrongful death lawsuits that have been filed which could lead to $36M in liability for your facility? If you aren’t comfortable with your answers to all these questions, then some consideration needs to take place on how you mitigate these risks for your facility.
The use of electronic information sharing platforms can not only allow you to document the answers to these questions but will help mitigate liability through a few other avenues. Documenting mitigation and notifications that occur for high risk or risk increasing activities is paramount when a lawsuit is filed. Additionally, these types of documentation and mitigation activities are at the heart of the new Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Emergency Preparedness Rule. Reach out today to discuss how our incident management platform can protect you from the liability and brand damage associated with these “routine” incidents.