The Emergency Response Messenger System (ERMS) is a pilot project offered by MB Health Disaster Management to regional health authorities in the spring of 2010. It has vastly improved the ability of the Assiniboine RHA to respond to any disaster or emergency. Two regions participated in this pilot project, which has since become a permanent component of our disaster management program. From the beginning, the ARHA Emergency Preparedness Committee, with the support of the Executive Management Committee, entered into ERMS with a development concept to pilot the system for the entire region. This would in effect involve every employee as a stakeholder in the system. Training would need to occur, not only for the system agents who could access the system, but for every stakeholder so that they could recognize when a Staff Call-Out was occurring and provide a response to the messenger system. This real-time data collection assists to provide planning based on actual responses to mitigate any ongoing disaster or emergency. To date we have used ERMS to notify staff for two facility evacuations (Code Green), multiple Code Orange events, and a Code White. During the extended flood season in 2011, ERMS was used to provide notification to staff in Souris and Melita regarding bridge closures impacting staff’s ability to report to work or return home at end of shift. With the inclusion of our Corporate Incident Command Team in the ERMS tree structure, we can activate, stand down or call a meeting. The Incident Command Team has a message process that provides information to all team members simultaneously and through a variety of message delivery devices, including email, cell phone, home and office phone numbers. The ability to track the message recipients’ responses and the devices used to check message responses have made the ERMS in Assiniboine RHA an invaluable tool as part of our overall disaster management system. This is a simple and easy to use system that minimizes the impact on the Staff Call-Out Centers daily operations and provides a permanent record of the activation of resources for the disaster event.
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