In an effort to provide the highest quality emergency and disaster services, Hackensack University Medical Center has developed an all hazards incident management program.  This program includes Incident Command, Emergency Operations Plans and Decontamination training and education as well as continuous emergency preparedness exercises and drills. HackensackUMC is a National Incident Management System (NIMS) compliant organization and a recognized leader in Healthcare Emergency planning and response. 

Exercises create and implement effective planning and preparedness for critical events. HackensackUMC has developed a model emergency response plan integrated with local, regional, military and federal entities. There are three kinds of Exercises;

  1. Table Top – The tabletop exercise (TTX) is a planned activity where you are presented with simulated emergency situation, without time constraints.  It is conducted as an informal meeting, in a conference room environment, and is designed to elicit constructive discussion from the participants.  Participants will examine and attempt to resolve problems (discovered in the HVA) based on existing plans and procedures. The success of the exercise is largely determined by the group participation. All individuals are encouraged to discuss decisions in depth with the emphasis on slow-paced problem solving, rather than rapid, spontaneous decision-making.  A tabletop exercise should have specific goals, objectives, and a scenario narrative.
  2. Functional – A functional exercise (FE) is designed to test and evaluate selected emergency functions and the interaction of various organizations in a simulated emergency environment.  Controllers and simulators initiate exercise events, may simulate certain field response activities, and also represent external organizations pertinent to the exercise scenario that are not participating in the exercise.
  3. Full Scale - A full-scale exercise (FSE) includes all the components of the functional exercise plus activation of an incident command post and actual deployment of response personnel and equipment to respond to a simulated emergency situation.  Full-scale exercises may also involve participation by mutual aid resources from other jurisdictions and state and federal coordination and response elements.  A full-scale exercise is intended to test and evaluate the operational capability of the overall emergency management organization to respond to a realistic scenario. 


2010 – Exercises

  • “Toxic Avenger” – FSE – tested regional response to a dirty bomb in a large mall
  • “Eagle Flag” – FSE – tested Mobile Hospital integration with Federal, Military and Private Sector in response to a CAT-3 Hurricane.
  • “Mass Casualty Incident” – Pediatric Hospital TTX – tested staff response to mass casualties related to a terrorist act.
  • “Lock-Down” – FE – tested ETD, Peds ER and Security response to a Security Lock-Down


2011 – Exercises

  • “Active Shooter” – TTX – evaluated staff response and provided guidelines in partnership with Law Enforcement.
  • “IAP Workshop” – Regional Workshop – Development of an ICS Incident Action Plan.
  • “Designer Genes” – TTX – Tested information sharing between hospitals and other agencies and within hospitals between caregivers and departments.
  • Anonymous Bio-Nemesis – TTX – Tested the regional response and integration of Healthcare, Law Enforcement, Public Health and the NJ State Department of Health for a covert bio-attack.
  • Anonymous Bio-Nemesis – FSE – Tested multiple aspects of the hospital Emergency Operations Plan for a Covert Bio-Attack and a simultaneous Multiple Patient Bus accident with contaminated patients.


            In addition to the planning and development of various hospital wide drills, the HackensackUMC Emergency Management Committee has developed and maintains the Emergency Operations Plan (EOP). The EOP is based on an All Hazards approach. One plan addresses response to all types of Emergencies. There is a Hazard Vulnerability Analysis (HVA) that the Disaster Committee reviews and revises annually.

Emergency Codes

Code Yellow Internal

  • This is called when an emergency occurs WITHIN the Medical Center that interferes with our ability to care for patients.
  • Utility, Communications,  or System failure, Flood, Fire, Explosion or Chemical spill …

Code Yellow – External

  • This is called when an emergency occurs in the community that will result in an influx of patients to the Medical Center
  • Plane crash, Train or bus accident, Chemical explosion, Influx of infectious patients etc.

Code Green

  • Called when incoming patients need to be decontaminated.
  • Decontamination tents and equipment is set-up outside of the Emergency Trauma Department
  • Access to the Medical Center would be severely limited
  • Staff assigned to this area don personal protective equipment.
  • All patients are triaged and decontaminated prior to entering the ETD.

Code Orange

  • This is called when the decision has been made to evacuate the Medical Center or portion thereof.
  • This decision is made by the Incident Commander, possibly in conjunction with several other agencies. 

Incident Management

  • MedicalCenter personnel have been trained in the application and use of the Incident Command System (ICS).
  • HackensackUMC uses an All Hazards Incident Management System and designs exercises in accordance with the Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program (HSEEP) as  required by the National Incident Management System (NIMS)
  • The Incident Command System manages resources, provides for Safety and organizes Operations.  It adapts easily to whatever type of incident we are dealing with.
  • ICS is a Modular System that can expand or contract based on incident size or complexity.


Major Management Activities of The Incident Command System


  • Has overall responsibility at the incident or event. 
  • Sets objectives and priorities based on agency direction.


  • Develop strategies and tactics, order / organize & deploy resources to achieve goals established by the Incident Commander


  • Supports Incident Operations by assuring the set-up, operation and maintenance of Incident Facilities.
  • Organizes Supplies
  • Sets-up and Maintains Communications Systems
  • Operates the Medical Unit

 Finance / Administration

  • Tracks Cost and Time
  • Provides Procurement services
  • Manages Compensation and Claims
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