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Role of Exercises and Drills in the Evaluation of Public Health in Emergency Response

  • Kristine M. Gebbie (a1), Joan Valas (a1), Jacqueline Merrill (a1) and Stephen Morse (a2)

Abstract

Introduction:

Public health agencies have been participating in emergency preparedness exercises for many years. A poorly designed or executed exercise, or an unevaluated or inadequately evaluated plan, may do more harm than good if it leads to a false sense of security, and results in poor performance during an actual emergency. At the time this project began, there were no specific standards for the public health aspects of exercises and drills, and no defined criteria for the evaluation of agency performance in public health.

Objective:

The objective of this study was to develop defined criteria for the evaluation of agency performance.

Method:

A Delphi panel of 26 experts in the field participated in developing criteria to assist in the evaluation of emergency exercise performance, and facilitate measuring improvement over time. Candidate criteria were based on the usual parts of an emergency plan and three other frameworks used elsewhere in public health or emergency response.

Results:

The response rate from the expert panel for Delphi Round I was 74%, and for Delphi Round II was 55%. This final menu included 46 public health-agency level criteria grouped into nine categories for use in evaluating an emergency drill or exercise at the local public health level.

Conclusion:

Use of the public health-specific criteria developed through this process will allow for specific assessment and planning for measurable improvement in a health agency over time.

Copyright

Corresponding author

Joan Valas, MS, RN Columbia University School of Nursing, Center for Health Policy, 630 West 168th Street-Mail Code 6, New York, NY 10032, USA E-mail: jv16@columbia.edu

References

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