AAR (After Action Report): A retrospective analysis that captures observations of what worked and what didn’t work during an emergency exercise. It is used to make recommendations for post-exercise improvements and to develop improvement plans.

COOP (Continuity of Operations Planning): Addresses emergencies from an all-hazards approach. A continuity of operations plan establishes policy and guidance ensuring that critical functions continue and that personnel and resources are relocated to an alternate facility in case of emergencies.

HCS (Health Commerce System): A secure online communications system operated by the state Department of Health. It supports the exchange of routine and emergency statewide health information by local health departments and health facilities, providers and practitioners. Through this system, practitioners  subscribe to public health alerts and access registries, along with other health information exchange applications that focus on preparedness, planning, communications, response and recovery. Entities regulated by the state Department of Health must have an account.

HCS Communications Directory: A directory on the Health Commerce System that the state Department of Health uses to communicate directly with providers in the event of an emergency. Providers must check the Communications Directory regularly and ensure that the information is accurate and up to date, with at least one personal contact number listed.

HEPC (Health Emergency Preparedness Coalitions): Regional coalitions of health care providers, local and state emergency management and local public health preparedness officials who work together to develop and coordinate emergency preparedness activities across the continuum. There are four HEPC regions:

  • Western Region
  • Central Region
  • Capital Region
  • MARO (Metropolitan Area Regional Office) Region

HERDS (Health Emergency Data System): A survey tool through the state Department of Health’s Health Commerce System (HCS) that the state uses to capture critical data during an emergency.

IHANS (Integrated Health Alerting and Notification System): A notification system that the state Department of Health uses to outline an emergency drill scenario or to communicate with providers during an emergency. These notifications are typically sent to certain home care and hospice contacts in the Health Commerce System (HCS) Communications Directory.

IOC (Interoperable Communications Drill): This kind of drill tests the ability of an organization to use a primary and back-up communication system (internet – including VOIP, radio, cellular and satellite phone) to communicate with coalition partners (local health departments, hospitals, EMS, emergency managers, and others). The drill also tests an organization’s ability to complete a Health Commerce System (HCS) Health Emergency Response Data System (HERDS) survey within the timeframe outlined in an Integrated Health Alerting and Notification System (IHANS) alert that will be sent to providers.

ICS (Incident Command System): A management system designed to enable effective and efficient domestic incident management by integrating a combination of facilities, equipment, personnel, procedures, and communications operating within a common organizational structure. ICS is normally structured to facilitate activities in five major functional areas: Command, Operations, Planning, Logistics, and Administration/Finance. It is a fundamental form of management, with the purpose of enabling incident managers to identify the key concerns associated with the incident—often under urgent conditions—without sacrificing attention to any component of the command system.

TALs (Transportation Assistance Levels): A system of categorizing patients and transport needs for planned evacuation preparatory to an emergency.

Tabletop exercises: Discussion-based sessions where team members meet in an informal classroom setting to discuss their roles during an emergency and their responses to a particular emergency situation. A facilitator guides participants through a discussion of one or more scenarios.

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