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April 17, 2013

Hospital Evacuation Decisions in Emergency Situations

Author Affiliations

Letters Section Editor: Jody W. Zylke, MD, Senior Editor.

Author Affiliations: Abt Associates Inc, Cambridge, Massachusetts (Ms Hassol; andrea_hassol@abtassoc.com); Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston (Dr Biddinger); and Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Denver (Dr Zane).

JAMA. 2013;309(15):1585-1586. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.2470

To the Editor: In the Viewpoint on emergency preparedness and public health, Powell and colleagues1 commented that some hospitals in Hurricane Sandy's path lacked clear and consistent criteria to guide evacuation decisions. Even though the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and the Joint Commission require that all hospitals have evacuation plans, often such plans are limited to the mechanics of an evacuation and provide little guidance for making the critical decision of whether to evacuate or shelter in place.