Document Type

Master's Culminating Experience

Publication Date



Objectives: The purpose of this research was to identify common problems encountered during hospital evacuations and how those problems are or should be addressed when creating a hospital evacuation plan.

Methods: Articles relating to hospital evacuations were retrieved from PubMed and CINAHL in addition to government websites and the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations. The articles collected were limited to within the last 20 years, from 1990 to 2010. Hospital plans were collected from search engines including Google and Yahoo. Moreover, a plan was obtained from a Dayton area hospital.

Results: Numerous instances of hospital evacuations that were attributed earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes and fires have been documented. Frequently cited problems in these evacuations were related to communication, transportation and staffing problems. The hospital evacuation plans that were reviewed included the San Joaquin County Hospital Evacuation Plan, New York Center for Terrorism Planning and Preparedness, Washington Hospital Center Emergency Evacuation Plan and a Dayton, Ohio Hospital Emergency Evacuation Plan.

Discussion: Plans need to be able to incorporate communication needs including emergency radios and cellular telephones with backup power sources. Updated call-lists are also crucial components to the successful execution of a hospital evacuation by helping to alleviate potential staffing shortages during an event. Transportation needs, including mutual aid agreements, need to be frequently reviewed and innovative measures must be taken to ensure success.

Conclusion: Hospitals today are not prepared to adequately handle an evacuation. Comprehensive plans that incorporate the lessons learned from previous evacuations are crucial components for community resiliency.