Since 2005, healthcare facilities have begun to place a higher priority on the connection between planning
and action in their preparedness measures. This article provides a unique example of how education for
emergency managers in exercise design can enable hospitals to improve their disaster preparedness. In
looking at the design of a hyper-realistic hurricane response exercise in 2009, one hospital was able to
take specific actions that enhanced its response to an actual hurricane incident in 2011. In fact, the design
of the 2009 exercise was comprehensive enough that it came very close to mirroring the real 2011 event.
The outcomes of this exercise and the response that followed demonstrate the importance of exercise
design courses for emergency managers. In addition, this case study illustrates the benefits of using
exercises to build working relationships among responder groups and agencies. Finally, the use of lessons
learned from exercises and jointly analyzed hazard vulnerabilities enable a robust and all-bases-covered
response to actual critical incidents.


Kevin C. Thomas

Director, Healthcare Emergency Management Program
Boston University School of Medicine

John J. Burke

Chief, Sandwich (MA) Fire Department

Nina Shaafi Kabiri

Research Scientist, Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology at Boston University School of Medicine

Alanna Cote

Doctoral Student, Boston University, Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences

Teija K. Corse

Emergency Preparedness Coordinator, Pacific Gas and Electric Company

Emily A. Winter

Project Manager for Outreach for the Healthcare Emergency Management Program, Boston University School of Medicine

Anthony Abruzzese

Adjunct Professor, Boston University School of Medicine Healthcare Emergency Management Program

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