Emergencies are unforeseen situations that demand prompt, coordinated actions that exceed normal procedures and limit damage to person, property, and/or the environment.
Internal emergencies are emergency incidents occurring within the organization. External emergencies occur in the community but affect the organization either by interfering with operations or by creating large numbers of additional patients.
Emergency management is based on a risk management approach and consists of four core components:
- Mitigation/prevention: actions taken to reduce or eliminate the effects of an emergency
- Preparedness: actions taken prior to an emergency to ensure an effective response
- Response: actions taken to respond to an emergency
- Recovery: actions taken to recover from an emergency.
What you need to know
St. Joseph’s has an emergency management program that addresses how the organization mitigates, prepares for, responds to, and recovers from emergencies. The following information is what you need to know about St. Joseph’s emergency response procedures:
General expectations of the public related to emergencies or disasters affecting St. Joseph’s
The general expectation is that members of the public, while on St. Joseph’s property, take instruction and conduct their own response based on staff instructions. All staff are required to know the emergency response procedures for their facility and support their own, colleague, patient/resident and visitors' safety.
Summoning help in an emergency or disaster - Main sites
Where possible, members of the public should notify staff if they witness an emergency or disaster. However, if you are unable to do so, you can dial 55555 while at a main St. Joseph’s facility from any hospital phone. This includes:
- St. Joseph’s Hospital
- Mount Hope Centre for Long Term Care
- Parkwood Institute
- Southwest Centre for Forensic Mental Health Care
In most cases, the room number of the location is posted on the phone. Security will ask for the location. Read the number on the phone if available. If not, look for the closest room number or location.
Summoning help in an emergency or disaster - Off-site facilities
In our smaller, off site locations, the public should alert a staff member. If a staff member is not available at one of these locations, the public is asked to dial 9-1-1. Our off-site facilities include:
- St. Joseph’s Family Medical and Dental Centre
- Infectious Diseases Care Program
- ACT team offices
Knowing when there’s an emergency
In St. Joseph's larger facilities, an overhead announcement system is used to alert the building of an emergency or disaster situation. Most often, “your attention please…” is announced followed by a “code” with a colour and, in some cases, additional information such as actions that need to be taken.
If a member of the public is on site and affected by an emergency or disaster, he or she is encouraged to call the Patient Relations Coordinator should access to resources or support be needed as a result of the event. Sometimes witnessing a traumatic event such as a medical emergency can be upsetting and St. Joseph's wants to ensure the public is supported.
Taking instructions from staff and emergency services workers
With well-trained security and emergency response teams, St. Joseph’s has the capacity to manage many emergency situations without requiring external emergency services. However, St. Jospeh's works closely with emergency services in the community and conduct a collaborative response to events as required (e.g., fire, hazardous materials events, etc.). When emergency services responders arrive, members of the public to should follow the orders or direction of emergency services workers.
If a member of the public has a specific need related to an emergency or disaster while visiting, please advise a staff member or emergency services worker immediately (e.g., a physical disability that will require a specific approach to help support your needs).
Service delays, reductions or deferrals
In some instances, St. Joseph’s may decide that it is in the best interest of patients, visitors or staff to delay some services or reduce or defer service levels due to an emergency or disaster. Members of the public will be made aware of this through our Communication and Public Affairs team and local media, or from the care area or program affected by way of a telephone call if you were expected to attend the area/program.