Open Access Open Access  Restricted Access Subscription or Fee Access

Assessment of community hospital disaster preparedness in New York State

Dan J. Vick, MD, MBA, DHA, Asa B. Wilson, PhD, DHA, Michael Fisher, DBA, Carrie Roseamelia, PhD


Objective: The intent of this study was to assess disaster preparedness in community hospitals across New York.

Design: Descriptive and analytical cross-sectional survey study. The survey instrument consisted of 35 questions that examined six elements of disaster preparedness: disaster plan development, onsite surge capacity, available materials and resources, disaster education and training, disaster preparedness funding levels, and perception of disaster preparedness.

Setting: Community hospitals in New York.

Subjects: Contact information was obtained for 207 of 208 community hospitals. Email invitations to participate in the survey were sent to hospital CEOs and disaster preparedness coordinators. Completed surveys were received from 80 hospitals.

Main Outcome Measures: Hospital responses to questions related to the six elements of disaster preparedness.

Results: Most (87.5 percent) hospitals had experienced a disaster event during the past 5 years (2012-2016). Eighty percent had disaster plans that addressed all of six major types of disasters. Only 17.5 percent believed their disaster plans were “very sufficient” and did not require any revisions. Nearly three-quarters (73.3 percent) of hospitals could continue operations for less than a week without external resources. Less than half (49.4 percent) reported being satisfied or very satisfied with the level of funding that they received from the Hospital Preparedness Program. Most (88.8 percent) respondents felt that barriers to disaster preparedness exist for their organizations.

Conclusions: The results demonstrate the current level of disaster preparedness among New York hospitals. The study’s approach is discussed as a model that will enable hospitals to identify focus areas for improvement and opportunities for legislation and advocacy.


disaster preparedness, community hospitals, New York State

Full Text:



McGlown KJ, Robinson PD (eds.): Anticipate, Respond, Recover: Healthcare Leadership and Catastrophic Events. Chicago, IL: Health Administration Press, 2011.

FEMA: Disaster declarations by year. U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency Web site. 2016. Available at Accessed February 27, 2016.

Charney RL, Rebmann T, Esguerra CR, et al.: Public perceptions of hospital responsibilities to those presenting without medical injury or illness during a disaster. J Emerg Med. 2013; 45(4): 578-584.

Krizner K: Hospital disaster preparedness plans become a necessity. Manag Healthc Exec. 2007; 17(1): 33-34.

Kaji AH, Koenig KL, Lewis RJ: Current hospital disaster preparedness. JAMA. 2007; 298(18): 2188-2190.

Meyers S: Disaster preparedness: Hospitals confront the challenge. Trustee. 2006; 59(2): 12-19.

American Hospital Association: The state of America’s hospitals – Taking the pulse: Results of AHA survey of hospital leaders. American Hospital Association Web site. March/April 2010. Available at Accessed February 27, 2016.

Beigi RH, Davis G, Hodges J, et al.: Preparedness planning for pandemic influenza among large US maternity hospitals. Emerg Health Threats J. 2009; 2: 2-5.

Belsky JB, Klausner HH, Karson J, et al.: Disaster preparedness in Michigan 2005 to 2012: Are we more prepared? [Abstract]. Ann Emerg Med. 2013; 62(4 Suppl): S15.

Campus Safety: Emergency preparedness survey results: Hospitals. Campus Safety Web site. March 24, 2011. Available at Accessed February 5, 2016.

Helger V, Smith PW: Bioterrorism preparedness: A survey of Nebraska health care institutions. Am J Infect Control. 2002; 30(1): 46-48.

Kaji AH, Lewis RJ: Hospital disaster preparedness in Los Angeles County. Acad Emerg Med. 2006; 13: 1198-1203.

Lenaghan PA, Smith PW, Gangahar D: Emergency preparedness and bioterrorism: A survey of the Nebraska Medical Center staff and physicians. J Emerg Nurs. 2006; 32(5): 394-397.

Niska RW, Burt CW: Emergency response planning in hospitals, United States, 2003-2004. Advance Data from Vital and Health Statistics. No. 391. Hyattsville, MD: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics, 2007.

Niska RW, Shimizu IM: Hospital preparedness for emergency response: United States, 2008. National Health Statistics Reports. No. 37. Hyattsville, MD: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics, 2011.

Rebmann T, Carrico R, English JF: Hospital infectious disease emergency preparedness: A survey of infection control professionals. Am J Infect Control. 2007; 35(1): 25-32.

Rebmann T, Wilson R, LaPointe S, et al.: Hospital infectious disease emergency preparedness: A 2007 survey of infection control professionals. Am J Infect Control. 2009; 37(1): 1-8.

Survey shows hospitals could operate one week with current disaster plans. Healthc Purch News. 2007; 31(7): 10.

Treat KN, Williams JM, Furbee PM, et al.: Hospital preparedness for weapons of mass destruction incidents: An initial assessment. Ann Emerg Med. 2001; 38(5): 562-565.

University of Pittsburgh Medical Center: Hospitals Rising to the Challenge: The First Five Years of the U.S. Hospital Preparedness Program and Priorities Going Forward. Baltimore, MD: UPMC Center for Biosecurity, 2009.

Vesely R, Hoppszallern S: Planning for disaster: Hospitals learn valuable lessons in responding to natural and non-natural catastrophes. Health Facil Manage. 2014; 27(7): 16-23.

Powell T, Hanfling D, Gostin LO: Emergency preparedness and public health: The lessons of Hurricane Sandy. JAMA. 2012; 308(24): 2569-2570.

Prezant DJ, Clair J, Belyaev S, et al.: Effects of the August 2003 blackout on the New York City healthcare delivery system: A lesson for disaster preparedness. Crit Care Med. 2005; 33(1 Suppl): S96-S101.

Verni C: A hospital system’s response to a hurricane offers lessons, including the need for mandatory interfacility drills. Health Aff. 2012; 31(8): 1814-1821.

AHA: Fast facts on U.S. hospitals. American Hospital Association Web site. January 2016. Available at Accessed February 22, 2016.

DHS: Plan and prepare for disasters. U.S. Department of Homeland Security Web site. December 27, 2013. Available at Accessed February 5, 2016.

The Free Dictionary: Disaster-preparedness plan. Mosby’s Medical Dictionary. 8th ed. The Free Dictionary Web site. Available at Accessed February 26, 2016.

The Free Dictionary: Surge capacity. Segen’s Medical Dictionary. The Free Dictionary Web site. Available at Accessed February 26, 2016.

Kaji AH, Langford V, Lewis RJ: Assessing hospital disaster preparedness: A comparison of an on-site survey, directly observed drill performance, and video analysis of teamwork. Ann Emerg Med. 2008; 52(3): 195-201.

USFA: Fire in the United States, 2005-2014. U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency, U.S. Fire Administration Web site. January 2017. Available at Accessed March 5, 2017.

Demko P: Ebola spotlights emergency-preparedness cuts. Mod Healthc. 2014; 44(42): 12.

Cagliuso NV: Stakeholders’ experiences with US hospital emergency preparedness: Part 2. J Bus Contin Emer Plan. 2014; 8(3): 263-279.

Kanter RK, Moran JR: Hospital emergency surge capacity: An empiric New York statewide study. Ann Emerg Med. 2007; 50(3): 314-319.

Higgins W, Wainright C III, Lu N, et al.: Assessing hospital preparedness using an instrument based on the Mass Casualty Disaster Plan Checklist: Results of a statewide survey. Am J Infect Control. 2004; 32(6): 327-332.



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2018 Journal of Emergency Management