The threats of pandemic flu and natural disasters, whether they are hurricanes, earthquakes or tornados, are very real for health care organizations throughout the United States. Three of the nation’s leading authorities on preparing for such emergencies—Joint Commission Resources (JCR), an affiliate of the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations; the US Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA); and the American Red Cross—are sponsoring a conference to highlight best practices and lessons learned that can be replicated and applied to help health care organizations meet community needs.

The 2nd Annual Emergency Preparedness Conference, “Disaster Readiness on the Home Front,” will be held October 19-20 in Washington, DC. JCR is.

The conference will examine planning strategies, tools, and techniques to help maintain preparedness for emergencies, with special emphasis on natural disasters and pandemic flu. Hospital officials from Hurricane Katrina-ravaged areas such as New Orleans and Bay St Louis, Miss, will share their experiences, along with health care professionals from Pakistan and Southern California who have coped with earthquakes. Officials from the World Health Organization  and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will discuss avian flu. US Labor Secretary Elaine L. Chao will be the keynote speaker on the opening day of the conference.

Participants will also examine how OSHA and Joint Commission standards that relate to emergency management can be used as the foundation for readiness. Other topics to be explored during the conference include the following:

·        Strengthening patient safety and security
·        Employee communication and training
·        Collaboration with local emergency management authorities
·        Surge capacity management
·        Evacuation procedures
·        Psychosocial aspects of emergencies

Cost for the conference is $475 for those registered by September 19 and $595 for those registering thereafter. Discounts are available for organizations registering three or more participants. To register, call JCR customer service toll-free at (877) 223-6866, or visit www.jcrinc.com.