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Our coasts are some of the most beautiful places on earth but living in what some consider utopias comes with inherent dangers. While millions of travelers flock to the shores of the Gulf Coast, Myrtle Beach, or Cabo each year, locals understand the risks involved with living where they live. June’s arrival means an influx in tourists, this year more than ever, as people are itching to get out after a year of sheltering in place. But it also means hurricane season. And everyone, including healthcare systems, should make preparations now as hurricane season is upon us.

While the public evacuates when dangers approach, healthcare systems remain in place and execute emergency plans to serve those with the greatest needs. Now is the time to review emergency plans and make any necessary updates before a crisis strikes.

Healthcare systems should:

  1. Review your designated disaster and backup teams.
  2. Review your disaster plan (develop one if you don’t have one).
  3. Have a plan to locate, communicate with, and organize your teams.
  4. Develop a facilities recovery plan including alternate care sites.
  5. Prepare a patient evacuation plan.
  6. Prepare a patient overflow plan.
  7. Make sure your hospitals have alternate methods of connecting with others.
  8. Review your disaster recovery plan and backup data offsite.
  9. Develop relationships with other hospitals, state and federal officials, and community organizations.
  10. Test, fix and retest your plans to ensure that you’re ready.

Optimum’s Trustpoint Technical Services team has 30+ years of combined experience assessing healthcare systems disaster preparedness. Our team excels in partnering with healthcare leaders to implement robust disaster recovery and business continuity plans. Read more about our Technical Services team and offerings.

As for the public, the National Weather Service publishes travel guidelines every year. This year, they’ve taken on a more critical role as travel begins again.  Review the tips and links below to prepare for the worst during hurricane season.

Steps to prepare for hurricane season during COVID-19:

  1. Determine your Risk
  2. Develop an Evacuation Plan
  3. Assemble Disaster Supplies
  4. Get an Insurance Checkup
  5. Strengthen your Home
  6. Help your Neighbors
  7. Complete a Written Plan

The Center for Disease Control also has a web page dedicated to Natural Disasters, Severe Weather, and COVID-19. Their tips for traveling during hurricane season and COVID-19 include:

Prepare for an evacuation:

While we attempt to recover from the pandemic together, we all must remain vigilant and take steps to protect ourselves and those around us. Travel wisely this hurricane season.

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