Preparing and managing hospitals for a disaster or emergency

The WA Health System Emergency Management Policy (external site) sets minimum standards to ensure Health Service Providers have suitable arrangements in place to respond appropriately in an emergency situation.

Notification of hospital incidents

Where an emergency has the potential to seriously impact upon a hospital’s service delivery, or poses a threat to the safety of staff and/or patients, the hospital health coordinator or regional health disaster coordinator should notify the on-call duty officer (OCDO) of the emergency code activation.

The OCDO can be notified on 9328 0553.

Hospitals should also notify the OCDO of all planned internal service outages or maintenance that may conceivably affect other WA Health services.

Planning for emergencies in health care facilities

Hospitals and health care facilities use a nationally recognised set of codes to prepare, plan, respond and recover from internal and external emergencies.

There is no State legislation that requires hospitals to implement, in whole or in part, the standards.

However accreditation bodies may refer to these when assessing a hospital’s preparedness for emergencies.

The hospital emergency codes are based upon Australian Standard (AS) 4083 - 2010 Planning for emergencies – Health care facilities and include:

  • Fire/smoke (Code red)
  • Medical emergency (Code blue)
  • Bomb threat (Code purple)
  • Infrastructure and other internal emergencies (Code yellow)
  • Personal threat (Code black)
  • External emergency (Code brown)
  • Evacuation (Code orange).

See Australian Standard 4083-2010, Planning for emergencies – Health care facilities (external site)