All hospitals in California are now linked to a statewide emergency communication system that will enable them to share information quickly and securely during a disaster, Dr. Mark Horton, director of the California Department of Public Health, announced today.
“This communications partnership strengthens our ability to share emergency information between California hospitals and the California Department of Public Health,” said Horton. “It will help us better prepare for disasters and save lives.”
California’s 435 general acute care hospitals are enrolled in the California Health Alert Network (CAHAN), the State of California’s Web-based information and communications system that is available around the clock for state and local preparedness efforts. CAHAN links health and emergency response partners together to provide:
- Rapid and secure communication among state and local health agencies, hospitals and other emergency response partners;
- Dissemination of information from state authorities about likely or imminent dangers; and
- A secure collaborative environment to develop and share information for emergency preparedness planning and response.
With the addition of three San Bernardino County hospitals — Ballard Rehabilitation Hospital, Mountains Community Hospital and Victor Valley Community Hospital — a two-year project to enroll every California hospital in CAHAN is now complete. Nearly 33,000 emergency response partners participate in CAHAN.
C. Duane Dauner, president of the California Hospital Association, said, “In any disaster, timely communication and information is essential. CAHAN is a vehicle that allows this to happen. California hospitals are pleased to be a part of this cooperative network which will assist hospitals and the State in preparing for and responding to disasters and in other ongoing operations.”
CAHAN was used by state authorities to share emergency information during last year’s gas explosion in San Bruno, the H1N1 pandemic in 2009 and wildfires in Southern California in 2007 and 2003, as well as for other emergencies and regular dissemination of important emergency preparedness information. CAHAN participants receive alerts and notifications via pager, e-mail, fax and phone.