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Disaster and Emergency Preparedness

 Disaster is generally defined as an event in which illness or injuries surpass resource capabilities of a community or medical facility (Ignatavicius & Workman, 2010). Disaster preparedness is a process of ensuring that an organization has complied with the preventive measures and is in a state of readiness to contain the effects of a predicted disastrous event to minimize loss of life, injury, and damage to property. Disaster preparedness can also provide rescue, relief, rehabilitation, and other services in the aftermath of the disaster, as well as have the capability and resources to continue to sustain its essential functions without being overwhelmed by the demand placed on them. The American Nursing Association is helping to ensure that disaster preparedness and response is robust in this country to be personally and professionally prepared for a disaster. Being in a prepared profession can help cope and help the communities recover from disaster better, faster and stronger (Brewer, 2010).

According to the Maricopa Integrated Health System (MIHS) at Maricopa Medical Center, they have a specialized disaster preparedness plan to fit their current top three hazards. Maricopa Medical Center conducts a Hazard Vulnerability Assessment (HVA) annually. The current top three hazards K.F., Manager of Fire Safety and Disaster Preparedness, at Maricopa Medical Center has identified include: Mass Causality Incidents (trauma, burns, pandemic, etc.), Small Casualty Hazardous Materials Response (less than five patients), and Severe Weather Incidents (monsoonal action, thunderstorms, and haboobs). This organization has a comprehensive Emergency Operations Plan that addresses the top three current hazards in the organization’s region. Maricopa Medical Center is also further developing their business continuity and recovery plans into stand-alone plans (K.F., personal interview, February 13, 20