Safety

Another big hurricane season could be on the way

Healthcare Life Safety Compliance, August 18, 2019

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Here’s what to do before, during, and after a storm that strikes your hospital

By John Palmer

Well, as the quick formation of tropical storm Barry in July showed, you can't relax. Hurricanes, especially the monster storms, have taught American hospitals some big lessons, and if you haven’t put those lessons into your resiliency plan, then you’re behind the game. For an example, just look to New Orleans.

It’s been 14 years since Hurricane Katrina hit the New Orleans area on August 29, 2005 as a Category 3 storm, which may not have been a big problem for the city’s medical facilities in normal circumstances. But when 53 of the city’s protective levees failed, almost 80% of New Orleans was left underwater—sending citizens scrambling to rooftops to escape the ?oodwaters.

Several hospitals were left stranded, with no evacuation plans, a lack of doctors, staff unable to get to and from work, and failed utilities that ultimately led to the deaths of many patients on life support systems. The storm’s aftermath prompted emergency preparation overhauls and changed the way healthcare organizations plan and drill for disasters.

This is an excerpt from a member only article. To read the article in its entirety, please login or subscribe to Healthcare Life Safety Compliance.

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