DOH Conducting Interoperable Communications (IOC) Drill

The Office of Health Emergency Preparedness (OHEP) is conducting a statewide IOC drill on October 9th for both Skilled Nursing and Adult Care Facilities.  This drill will satisfy the CMS emergency exercise requirement for SNFs. Participation is optional for ACFs, but we highly recommend you participate in the exercise as a best practice so you are ready in the event of an actual emergency.

The Interoperable Communications (IOC) Drills are designed to help Health Emergency Preparedness Coalitions (HEPC) partners ensure that they have redundant forms of communication among their members.  Redundant communication refers to having multiple back-up communication modalities, and is critical to emergency preparedness planning.

Objectives of the October 9th drill are:

  • Demonstrate the ability to use a primary and back-up communications system such as internet, radio, satellite and cellular to communicate with coalition partners (HEPC, local health departments, hospitals, EMS, OEM and other partners.
  • To complete the NYSDOH Health Commerce System (HCS) Health Emergency Response Data System (HERDS) survey within the timeframe outlined in the IHANS alert you will receive from NYSDOH. Click here to read the IOC Objectives & Exercise Algorithms.

On October 9th, the NYSDOH Regional Office will send an IHANS alert to coalition members regarding an emergency IOC drill via phone, text and email, directing you to HERDS Survey on the Health Commerce System (HCS) with the name of the drill survey (IOC Drill 10-9-18).

  • Phone and text alerts will direct coalition members to check their emails.
  • The email alert will direct coalition members to complete the HERDS survey within 2 hours.  The survey will be comprised of three questions: Who will you share (the drill scenario) with internally, externally and what mode of communication will you use.
  • Within 3 hours of the drill, the NYSDOH Regional Offices will collect response to the HERDS Survey and the Regional Offices will report back to Central Office the number of coalition member organizations responding.
  • The best thing you can do to prepare for this drill is to have your HCS Communication Directory up to date with the appropriate contact information for the following roles:
  • 24/7 Facility Contact
  • Administrator
  • Data Reporter
  • Director, Resident Services
  • Emergency Response Coordinator
  • HPN Coordinator

After the exercise, you can assess how well you did by completing the After Action Report (AAR) by reviewing your organizations strengths and areas for improvement. Click here for an AAR template for your use.