Laboratory Emergency Preparedness

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Author: Suzanne H. Butch, MA, MLS(ASCP)CM, SBB, DLM and Julia Clendenin, BS, BS
Reviewer: Andrea Arlen, MLS(ASCP)CM and Shoolah Escott, MS, MT(ASCP)

The American Association of Blood Banks (AABB), The Joint Commission (TJC), and the College of American Pathologists (CAP) have included requirements for laboratories to have disaster plans for many years. This course discusses the requirements for emergency preparedness including the use of emergency exercises.

Continuing Education Credits


  • Define emergency management.
  • Discuss the focus of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services' (CMS) requirements for emergency preparedness.
  • Describe the use of emergency exercises in emergency preparedness.

Course Outline

  • What Is Emergency Management?
      • Introduction
      • History of Emergencies
      • Emergency Planning From You to The President
      • Emergency Plans with Laboratory Staff
      • Training
      • Emergency management is the process of preparing for, responding to, and recovering from an emergency event.
      • Which of the following are considered emergency events?
  • Agencies of Emergency Management
      • Agencies of Emergency Management
    • Federal Agencies
      • U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
      • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)
      • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Resources
      • Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)
    • Accrediting Agencies
      • Emergency Management by Accrediting Agencies
      • Which agency would be the most helpful in planning for pandemics, such as influenza pandemics?
      • The safety coordinator for the laboratory is looking for information to enhance the earthquake response for the laboratory. What agency is the most he...
      • What agency provides laboratories with known bioterrorism specimens in order to familiarize laboratories on the proper identification, collection, shi...
  • CMS Requirements for Emergency Management
      • CMS Requirements for Emergency Management
      • Core Elements of CMS Emergency Preparedness
    • Emergency Plan
      • Emergency Plan: CFR Guidelines
      • Risk Assessments
      • Risk Assessment Tools
    • Policies and Procedures
      • Policies and Procedures: CFR Guidelines
      • Policies and Procedures
    • Communication Plan
      • Communication Plan: CFR Guidelines
      • Communication Plan
    • Training and Testing
      • Training and Testing
    • Emergency and Standby Power Systems
      • Emergency and Standby Power Systems
      • When a healthcare facility has an emergency plan in place, which of the following is generally a responsibility of the facility to coordinate, rather ...
      • The laboratory safety officer is tasked with creating the emergency management plan. What should be the first step?
  • Describe the use of emergency exercises in emergency preparedness
    • Introduction to Emergency Exercises
      • Introduction to Emergency Exercises
      • Announced and Unannounced Emergency Exercises
      • The laboratory manager is planning a test of the communication plan. What should be done first?
      • Designing an Emergency Exercise
      • Participants
      • FEMA Planning Checklist
    • Types of Exercises
      • Types of Emergency Exercises
      • Tabletop Exercises
      • Walkthrough Exercises
      • Functional Exercises
      • Full-Scale Exercises
      • Exercise Summary
      • Match the type of exercise with its definition.
      • What are some differences between functional and full-scale exercises?
    • After an Emergency Exercise
      • After Action Report
      • Turning Recommendations Into Improvements
      • The laboratory manager is reviewing the After Action Report (AAR). What should be the next step?
    • Sample Exercises
      • Sample Exercises
      • Exercise 1: Communications Fan-Out
      • Exercise 2: Water
      • Exercise 3: Active Shooter Procedures and Training
      • Exercise 4: Loss of Power
      • Exercise 5: Disease of the Month
      • Exercise 6: Fire
      • Exercise 7: Blood Bank Emergency Release
      • Exercise 8: Let It Snow
      • Exercises Provided by FEMA
      • Exercises Provided by FEMA, cont.
      • Which of the following should be your first response if an active shooter enters your room?
  • References
      • References

Additional Information

Level of instruction: Basic
Intended Audience: This is an introductory level management course for medical laboratory scientists, medical technologists, and technicians. This course is also appropriate for medical laboratory science students and pathology residents.
Author Information: 
Suzanne H. Butch, MA, MLS(ASCP)CM, SBB, DLM is currently working on special projects for the Department of Pathology at Michigan Medicine in Ann Arbor, Michigan. She formerly worked in Quality Assurance in the Department of Pathology and as the Administrative Manager for Healthcare, Blood Bank & Transfusion Service at the University of Michigan Hospitals and Health Centers in Ann Arbor, Michigan. She holds a Bachelors in Medical Technology from the University of Michigan, a Masters Degree in Management and Supervision from Central Michigan University, and Certifications as a Specialist in Blood Bank, as a Quality Audit, and as a Diplomate in Laboratory Medicine.
Julia Clendenin is a content and graphics developer for MediaLab, Inc. She graduated from Georgia Institute of Technology with a B.S. in Biochemistry and a B.S. in Literature, Media, and Communication. 
Reviewer Information:
Andrea Arlen, MLS(ASCP)CM, is currently the Quality Assurance Coordinator and Senior Clinical Technologist in the Molecular Diagnostics department at Michigan Medicine in Ann Arbor, Michigan. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Clinical Laboratory Science from Wayne State University in Detroit, MI. Andrea also holds certifications in both LEAN Healthcare from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI and Molecular Laboratory Diagnostics from Michigan State University, East Lancing, MI. 
Shoolah Escott, MS, MT(ASCP), currently works as a biosafety and biosecurity consultant and trainer. She has over 14 years of experience working with the CDC and has experience as a regional coordinator with APHL. Earlier in her career, she was the manager of microbiology at Memorial hospital in the greater Boston area and more recently served as the Biosafety Manager and Alternate Responsible Official for the Massachusetts State Public Health Laboratory.

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FEMA - 9011 - Photograph by Andrea Booher taken on 10-31-2003 in California
Galveston Island, TX. Jocelyn Augustino. FEMA website.
A Hurricane Ike refuge center in Galveston Island, TX, September 18, 2008 (1).