The role of the freestanding emergency department is to serve the community and to provide surge protection in the event of a natural disaster. That being said, the freestanding emergency center should only stay open IF POSSIBLE. This decision should be made based on a predetermined disaster plan which should include the following points:
- Each plan should be made in coordination with the center’s transfer hospital and local emergency response.
- Each plan should identify ways to communicate with local response and the response command center – this should include plans in the event of landline and cellphone loss.
- Each plan should identify the capabilities of their generators.
- Each plan should include a plan for sufficient food, water, and other necessary supplies.
A freestanding emergency center should not stay open if:
- It would be unsafe for staff.
- Local response would not be able to reach the center.
- The center is in a flood zone.
- The center does not have the proper food, water, or back-up power supply.
Statement developed by the AAEM Freestanding Emergency Centers Interest Group.
Approved: June 7, 2019