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The Greatest Resource For Emergency Preparedness? Your CMMS

As severe weather becomes more commonplace, healthcare systems are forced to prepare for more emergencies and have a plan in place for recovery once the inevitable storm hits. Utilize your CMMS strategically before and after weather disasters to get back to serving patients as quickly as possible.

By Zachary Seely

Each year extreme weather events continue to grow in scale, frequency, and cost, endangering the operations of healthcare systems and their ability to provide safe, reliable care in their communities. It is imperative for hospitals to be able to speedily recover from such events to provide care to those affected by the same emergencies.

Not only do extreme weather events impact a hospital’s ability to deliver care, but weather emergencies can be financially debilitating for hospitals that face damage to infrastructure, equipment, and more. It’s estimated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration that 18 separate weather disasters in the U.S. in 2022 each resulted in at least $1 billion in damages.

While disasters of this nature are nearly impossible to predict, it is possible and essential for hospitals to do all they can to plan for such events. It has now become clear that the question is not if your healthcare system may experience a weather-related emergency, but when.

Healthcare, CMMS
(Credit: Adobe Stock / Fly Frames, Generated with AI)

Believe it or not, one of your greatest resources for both emergency preparation and recovery is something your team likely uses everyday: your CMMS. A work order and asset management system can help you to track down missing assets, provide important information needed to repair damaged equipment, help you prioritize preventative maintenance (PM) in preparation of disaster, and so much more, all leading to better preparation and saving valuable time, money, and resources in dire situations.

By incorporating the best practices below, gain a better understanding of how critical your CMMS is in emergency preparedness and recovery and determine whether your current system has the capabilities to help your healthcare system plan ahead.

Your CMMS During Emergency Preparation

Your essential software tools may not be able to predict the weather or prevent a storm, but the leading healthcare CMMS solutions contain important features to help your operations team stay vigilant and ready should extreme weather hit your area. Adhering to a continuous state of preparation is key and ensuring your system has the features to allow you to maintain the following measures is critical.

An Emphasis On PMs Is Key to Preparation

Preventive maintenance is one of the best ways to prepare for disasters. If your team is able to stay ahead of work orders through PMs, you can ensure all assets and equipment will be in proper working condition should an emergency hit. Knowing that all fire extinguishers will function properly when it matters most, HVAC systems are prepared to handle heat waves, or drainage systems will properly divert heavy rains is the first step to facing many emergencies.

Not all CMMS solutions emphasize PMs in the same way. Having the ability to create custom dashboards to see open PMs on high-risk equipment, evaluate clearcut analytics on the rate of CM vs PM completion, and promote efficiency for improved productivity can mean the difference between levelheaded preparation and a flurry of work orders in dire circumstances.

Easy Work Order Scheduling For More Preparation, Less Paperwork

When you’ve just received news of a major weather event and it’s time to prepare your healthcare facilities, time is of the essence. Your CMMS streamlines work order scheduling so you can quickly deploy technicians and attend to each work order before it’s too late. Reduce time spent on paperwork with easy scheduling and data at your fingertips that can give you insights into which assets could use attention or are at high risk for damage. No need to pour over spreadsheets of asset conditions and work order history – find it all with the click of a button and spend more time preparing.

Reprioritize for the Greatest Impact

If your hospital typically has long backlog of PMs to complete, it can be intimidating to know where to start in the face of an emergency. Depending on the impending weather, some assets are going to be more critical to have working than others. Your CMMS can help you re-prioritize PMs so your team takes care of the assets that will be most important before, during, and after a weather emergency.

The Key To A Timely Disaster Recovery

If you’ve taken the right measures to prepare ahead of an imminent weather emergency, then your recovery afterwards should be less costly and time consuming. No matter how your hospital must recuperate once the event passes, your CMMS is also going to play a significant role in a timely recovery.

Get Back Up And Running With Streamlined Work Order Scheduling

Just like during your preparation, perhaps nothing will be more important than the ability to schedule work orders easily and efficiently. Knowing exactly which assets need service, assigning them to technicians, and understanding the materials needed for the repairs will help you get back on track to offer a safe and comfortable environment for all who need care.

Locate Assets Quicker With An Accurate Inventory

If your facility must deal with damage to your assets, it’s important to have an accurate and up to date inventory to get a full understanding of the situation. Knowing how many of a particular asset you have, whether you have more in storage, or the number that will need to be replaced, can help you make decisions quickly and potentially save you money by preventing you from buying something you don’t need.

On-The-Go Digital Floorplans To Move Faster

One of the most important aspects of your CMMS is mobile capabilities, which allow your technicians to take the work order system and asset inventory everywhere they go. Having a CMMS with digital floorplans with assets, work orders, and PMs indicated with graphics significantly cuts down on time locating each item. If you’ve experienced damage or see that an asset is missing from the place it is supposed to be, you can use floorplans and asset locations to show you exactly where to replace a damaged or missing item.

Save Time And Money In Preparation And Recovery With The Right CMMS

There’s no question your CMMS is perhaps your most important resource when preparing for and responding to an extreme weather event. Whether your CMMS has all the capabilities to set yourself up for success and streamline recovery is another question entirely.

Without user-friendly work order scheduling, an emphasis on PMs, features that help you maintain an accurate asset inventory, or mobile capabilities with digital floorplans, you aren’t as prepared as you could be.

Consider whether your current solution can offer a rigorous response to emergencies that can and will happen and decide whether you’re willing to risk up to $1 billion in damages and time spent repairing, replacing, and locating assets in the wake of disaster.

As CEO at FSI, Zachary Seely leads the company to help facilities optimize their environment and empower their employees with digitally transformed maintenance operations.

Seely’s career has centered around business development, strategy and growth with a focus on new technologies and innovation. In addition to driving tech-sector growth, Seely has been a member of the J.M. Huber Corporation’s Board of Directors since 2017. Prior to joining the Board as a Director, Seely served on multiple boards and committees across the organization.

Seely brings experience from his time as an independent management consultant focused on the media and technology industries, and previously led business and investment strategy for start-up and accelerator programs. He also brings experience from his time at global management consulting firm McKinsey & Company as a member of the Business Technology Office.

Seely holds a B.A. from Bates College and an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

Click here to read more about Disaster Recovery on Continuity Insights.

CMMS, Emergency Preparation, FSI, Healthcare, Hospital Facilities, Preventative Maintenance, Professional Development, severe weather, Storm Damage, Weather Disasters, Work Order Management

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