Laboratory Emergency Preparedness

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Author: Suzanne H. Butch, MA, MLS(ASCP)CM, SBB, DLM
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?
      • Emergency Management
      • Emergency Planning From You to The President
      • Regional, State, Local, and Laboratory Emergency Management Structure
      • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Resources
      • A Personal/Family Plan
      • Training
      • Which agency would be the most helpful in planning for a flu pandemic?
      • The safety coordinator for the laboratory is looking for information to enhance the earthquake response for the laboratory. What agency's web site has...
  • CMS Requirements for Emergency Management
      • Core Elements
      • All Hazards Risk Assessment
      • Another Example of a Risk Assessment Tool
      • Policies and Procedures
      • Communications Plan
      • Training and Testing
      • Emergency Fuel and Generator Testing
      • When a facility or health system has an emergency plan in place, which of the following is generally a responsibility of the facility to coordinate, r...
      • The laboratory safety officer is interested in expanding the emergency management plan. What should be the first step?
  • Describe the use of emergency exercises in emergency preparedness
    • Practice, Practice, Practice
      • Types of Practice Events
      • Announced Tests or Unannounced Tests
      • The laboratory manager is planning a test of the communications plan. What should be done first?
      • Designing an Event
      • Participants
      • FEMA Planning Checklist
    • Types of Exercises
      • Tabletop Exercise
      • Simulations/Mock Events
      • Modular or Component Exercise
      • Comprehensive Events
    • After Action Report
      • After Action Report
    • Lessons Learned
      • Turning Recommendations Into Improvements
      • The laboratory manager is reviewing the After Action Report (AAR). What should be the next step?
    • Sample Exercises
      • Communications Fan-Out
      • Federal Exercises
      • Water
      • Active Shooter Procedures and Training
      • Loss of Power
      • Disease of the Month
      • Fire
      • Blood Bank Emergency Release
      • Let It Snow
      • In an active shooter situation, what is the current order of actions that individuals faced with this situation should take?
  • References
      • References

Additional Information

Level of instruction: Introductory 
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.
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. 
Reviewer information:  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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This course is part of:
Federal Emergency Management Agency Regions
Family Emergency Planning Wallet Card
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FEMA - 9011 - Photograph by Andrea Booher taken on 10-31-2003 in California
Galveston Island, TX. Jocelyn Augustino. FEMA website.
Galveston Island, TX, September 18, 2008 -- Members of the Iowa-1 Disaster Medical Assistance Team help to move a patient along with flight nurses and medics who will be transporting patients to hospitals that are operating outside of the area impacted by Hurricane Ike. Jocelyn Augustino/FEMA