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Managing emergencies in general practice

Part B – Emergency planning and response

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Last revised: 13 Dec 2019

At the first notification of a possible crisis, the emergency management coordinator or delegate should attend community briefings to assess risk to staff, the practice, patients and the wider community.

The emergency management coordinator and/or other practice staff are advised to regularly check the relevant state or territory emergency service’s website for up-to-date information about the anticipated degree of impact. The relevant service will determine if there is a need to evacuate.

In the event of an emergency, the emergency management coordinator should implement and communicate the emergency evacuation plan, including assembly points.

Based on information provided by the relevant emergency service, the emergency management coordinator will advise whether practice staff will need to evacuate the premises. If an evacuation is required, the emergency management coordinator will be responsible for communicating this to all staff via the activation of the communication tree. The emergency management coordinator will also need to provide practice staff with advice regarding safe evacuation and assembly points.

In the event of an emergency, if phone lines are disrupted, the coordinator should organise for phone calls to be diverted to the practice’s back-up option, whether this be a corded analogue phone or mobile if still operational. There should be a recorded message regarding the practice’s status and hours of operation, as well as relevant advice to patients. If the practice has a website or uses social media, information regarding the practice’s operation should also be updated here by the emergency management coordinator and/or relevant IT support staff.

If it is determined that the practice does not need to be evacuated, then it is business as usual unless determined otherwise by the practice owner or practice manager.

Re-entering a practice after an emergency can be hazardous. Before anyone re-enters the practice, the emergency management coordinator should seek professional advice from either a building engineer or a responsible member of the emergency response team about when it is safe to re-enter the building.

This event attracts CPD points and can be self recorded

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