Experts urge hospitals to conduct crisis drills amid COVID-19 pandemic

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 21 2021 08:13 PM

Experts urge hospitals to conduct crisis drills amid COVID-19 pandemic 1
Patients of Philippine General Hospital are evacuated after a fire broke past midnight in the government-run facility amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Manila, May 16, 2021. Eloisa Lopez, Reuters/File

MANILA - Several hospital officials on Friday said health facilities should continue to conduct crisis drills even during the COVID-19 pandemic after a fire razed a portion of the Philippine General Hospital over the weekend.

It is important for hospitals to know how to evacuate patients from a facility while observing health protocols, said Dr. Carlos Gundran, Disaster Risk Reduction and Management head of the University of the Philippines Manila.

"Hindi porke't tayo ay pandemic ay hindi na masusunog ang ospital kaya tayo ay kailangan maghanda," he said.

(Fires in hospitals will not stop just because there is a pandemic.)

"Drills are there to test functionality... para pag dumating yung tunay na event, maiibsan natin ang casualty at injuries," he said.

(Drills are there to test functionality so that when the real event comes, we can limit the casualties and injuries.)

Hospitals should begin identifying multiple open spaces that would serve as evacuation areas in the event of a fire and other emergencies, he said.

"Kung hindi natin gagawan ng contingency plan ito, tayo din ang magsu-suffer in the end," he said, noting that physical distancing should be considered when computing for the number of people an open space could hold.

(If we do not create a contingency plan for this, we will be the ones who will suffer in the end.)

Aside from the PGH, a fire also broke at the Pasig General Hospital last week.

No one was hurt in both incidents.