JCR and OSHA Convene Conference on Hospital Disaster Plans

WASHINGTON -- Joint Commission Resources (JCR) and the Occupational Safety Health Administration (OSHA) are today convening a two-day national conference in Washington, D.C., to help hospitals protect "First Receivers" -- the first medical staff to receive emergency victims of hazardous disasters -- on how to protect themselves and their hospital environment in a post-hurricane and post-September 11 environment. The recent devastation in the Gulf Coast region has put emergency preparedness at forefront for health care facilities. The conference will address making preparations for sudden environmental catastrophes resulting in mass casualties, as well as the dangers of terrorism and weapons of mass destruction, featuring presentations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

"We are proud to work with OSHA to conduct this critical meeting at a time when health care facilities are faced with preparing for many different types of disasters," says Karen H. Timmons, president and chief executive officer, Joint Commission Resources. "By providing guidance to hospitals on how to protect and prepare their first receivers during a crisis, we can help save lives."

"This seminar will offer guidance and expertise from leaders in the field of emergency management in government, academia and health care," says Jonathan L. Snare, acting assistant secretary of Labor, OSHA. "It will help hospitals make sound decisions that best protect and train first receivers."

Key conference topics include:

-- defense from exposure to dangerous chemicals including

-- weapons of mass destruction;

-- practical solutions for establishing decontamination and protective equipment plans;

-- community-based preparedness communication and collaboration processes.

The conference also will include discussion by representatives from hospitals who have first-hand experience in planning for or responding to a mass casualty incident.