Incident Management: The Central Ohio Trauma System’s Hospital Incident Liaison

The Central Ohio Trauma System’s Hospital Incident Liaison (HIL) role was recently featured on FEMA’s Lessons Learned Information Sharing (

The COTS HIL role emerged as a direct response to the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. COTS conducted planning for a potential influx of victims to the two verified burn centers in central Ohio. As part of this process, COTS contacted all Franklin County, OH, hospitals to inquire about bed availability and other resource needs in the event that the burn centers would require transfers of less critical patients. All hospitals demonstrated receptiveness to share resources and assist one another in order to respond collectively to the disaster. The COTS Executive Committee recognized the value in collaboration and an ongoing need for coordinated hospital response. Consequently, the committee met to define and implement the HIL role.

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COTS is a 501(c)(3) private non-profit organization that coordinates trauma care, emergency care, and disaster preparedness systems throughout 15 counties in central Ohio. COTS serves as the hospital preparedness coordination agency for the central Ohio Homeland Security Region 4 (see map 1 below). The COTS Board of Trustees consists of hospitals and emergency medical services (EMS) providers, Columbus Medical Association physicians, and local health agency representatives. COTS manages and distributes Federal preparedness funds to 29 partnering hospitals and community healthcare partners in Region 4. These funds enhance individual and regional hospital preparedness planning through the purchase of equipment and supplies, participation in training and exercises, and other preparedness initiatives.

Lessons Learned Information Sharing ( is the Department of Homeland Security/Federal Emergency Management Agency’s national online network of lessons learned, best practices, and innovative ideas for the emergency management and homeland security communities. 


*Information for this posting extracted from the referenced article