Epidemics, attacks, biological risks…In extreme situations the government may decide to trigger the Plan Blanc (the Hospital Emergency Procedures Plan), such as the MASH Plan in Belgium.
What is it? What measures are put into place? What can crisis management software (CMC/Crisis Management Center) offer you and how can it help?
Check out our “Plan Blanc” guide to help you better understand this measure and the tools that can help you.
What is a “Emergency Prepardness plan”?
The Emergency Prepardness is an emergency measure to manage exceptional health situations. Its objective is to prepare public and private hospitals (clinics) to respond to a massive influx of victims following an attack, an epidemic, a natural disaster, etc.
Who triggers the "Emergency Prepardness plan"?
The person responsible for the institution triggers the Plan Blanc directly from within their facility and informs the Prefect of their department. They can also act upon this person’s request.In France, the Prefect may deploy the “Extended Plan Blanc” which is defined as a reinforcement plan when the Plan Blanc is inadequate.
The "Emergency Prepardness plan" in Europe
Almost all countries have a similar emergency plan as France’s Emergency Preparedness Plan. In Belgium we have the PUH (Plan d'Urgence Hospitalier), Luxembourg has the Plan Nombreuses Victimes (Many Victims Plan), England has its Emergency Preparedness Plan, in France we have the Plan Blanc and the Orsan plan, etc.
Who is impacted by the Emergency Preparedness Plan (or PUH)
In Europe in general, each hospital or clinic is responsible to design its own emergency plan (Plan Blanc, PUH, etc.) that must include the emergency procedures based on the kind of crisis, the crisis unit set up protocols, the tools used, as well as intra-hospital organisation instructions.
What is an Orsan Plan?
In 2014, the French public health authority established the ORSAN Plan (Organisation de la Réponse du système de Santé en situation sanitaire exceptionnelles) with includes measures to coordinate the Plan Blancs at the regional level.
A Plan with 5 categories:
- Orsan Amavi: Massive influx of uncontaminated victims
- Orsan Clim: Management of a massive influx following a natural climate disaster
- Orsan Epi-Vac: Management of a national epidemic or pandemic, including exceptional vaccination campaigns
- Orsan Bio: Management of a known or emerging biological risk
- Orsan NRC: Management of nuclear, radiological or chemical risks
The Orsan Plan vs. The Orsec Plan
The goal of the Orsec Plan (Organisation de la réponse de sécurité civile) is to get an efficient back-up plan in place as quickly as possible. Unlike the Orsan Plan, the Orsec Plan applies to all rescue services.It is commonly said that the Orsan Plan is the Orsec for hospitals.
The Orsan Plan in 3 steps
The Orsan Plan is deployed gradually according to the health situation:
1- Reorganise the healthcare services provided and allocate resources by priority
2- Strengthen local capacity
3- Strengthen national capacity (mobilise healthcare backup, retirees, students, etc.)
What are the benefits of the Emergency Preparedness Plan?
The Plan Blanc prepares healthcare facilities for emergency situations and to deal with a massive influx of victims. This plan will automate many procedures to help caregivers to be better able to respond and organise themselves in the event of a crisis. Using alert software and crisis management will make the Plan easier to deploy by automating many tasks and ensuring key information is securely exchanged.
Under what circumstances should a Emergency Preparedness Plan be deployed?
Hospitals trigger the Plan Blanc when they are faced with a massive influx of victims, such as in the event of an airline disaster, natural disasters, attacks, accidents, epidemics, etc. Each kind of crisis is different, and the organisation’s requirements will differ, as will specific procedures and the risk management.
What are the risk scenarios to consider?
Depending on the circumstance causing the hospital to deploy its Plan Blanc, it will need to deal with internal and external risks. An NRBC crisis (Nuclear, Radiological, Biological or Chemical) will bring a significant risk of contamination, and a natural disaster can bring the risk of interrupted lines of communication. These risks must be identified, and the Plan Blanc must include a BCP (Business Continuity Plan) to ensure continuity of care.
Examples of the Emergency Preparedness Plan in action:
Since implementation of the Plan Blanc, healthcare establishments have been forced to execute their crisis management plans several times:
- The July 14, 2016 attack in Nice: All hospitals mobilised themselves within the framework of a Plan Blanc supported by the Orsec Plan
- The premature arrival of the flu, coupled with the brutal arrival of icy conditions in January 2017 resulted in a massive influx of victims to the Centre hospitalier d’Armentière, obligating the centre’s director to implement the Plan Blanc during an entire weekend
- Following the 2011 attack on Place Lambert in Liège, Belgium, the Centre Hospitalier Chrétien (CHC) launched its PUH to manage the massive influx of victims
- As part of managing France’s 2015 influenza epidemic, the Minister of Health triggered the Orsan Plan, putting the national hospitals on Plan Blanc.
How can a crisis management solution help me to implement an emergency plan?
A crisis management solution will help you automate a number of actions, which usually involve mobilising a large number of your resources to deal with the crisis. It will also enable you to disseminate information on a continuous basis, thus helping you maintain effective organization. Your caregivers can stay focussed on providing care to your patients.
With some software solutions like AlarmTILT®, you get access to a Virtual Crisis Unit that can be deployed independently from the alert, enabling you to communicate with a group of contacts through a web interface, a tablet or a smartphone, wherever they are in the world. Deployed in a few seconds, the Crisis Management Centre (Virtual crisis cell) will help you communicate with key players such as Hospital Directors, Prefects, and Emergency Services personnel before a likely crisis and to maintain a dedicated communication centre during the entire crisis, available even when the usual channels are overloaded
Why do I need an alert system as part of my Emergency Preparedness Plan ?
An alert system will help organise your teams and caregivers during a crisis. It will alert the key players required to trigger the crisis, as well as maintain the flow of information required to properly operate, thus helping you save valuable time and helping you be more efficient when dealing with the crisis. As part of the Emergency Plan, the management system will be able to automate your Business Continuity Plan (BCP). The alert system can be independent from your IT infrastructure, which helps you maintain communication even if your usual lines of communication are out of service.