Our coasts are some of the most beautiful places on earth but living in what some consider utopias comes with inherent danger. 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, as people are itching to get out after a long winter. But it also means hurricane season. And everyone, including healthcare systems, should make preparations now as hurricane season is upon us.
Approaching danger prompts public evacuation, but healthcare systems must 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 System Preparation for Hurricane Season
- Review your designated disaster and backup teams.
- Review your disaster plan (develop one if you don’t have one).
- Have a plan to locate, communicate with, and organize your teams.
- Develop a facilities recovery plan including alternate care sites.
- Prepare a patient evacuation plan.
- Prepare a patient overflow plan.
- Make sure your hospitals have alternate methods of connecting with others.
- Review your disaster recovery plan and backup data offsite.
- Develop relationships with other hospitals, state and federal officials, and community organizations.
- Test, fix, and retest your plans to ensure that you’re ready.
Optimum’s Technical Services team has 30+ years of combined experience assessing healthcare system 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.
The National Weather Service publishes travel guidelines every year. Review the tips and links below to prepare for the worst during hurricane season.
Steps to prepare for hurricane season during COVID-19:
- Determine your Risk
- Develop an Evacuation Plan
- Assemble Disaster Supplies
- Get an Insurance Checkup
- Strengthen your Home
- Help your Neighbors
- Complete a Written Plan
While the Covid threat is not as high as it once was, it's still important for those most at risk to be prepared. The Center for Disease Control has a web page dedicated to Natural Disasters, Severe Weather, and COVID-19. Their tips for traveling during hurricane season and COVID-19 include:
- Get a COVID-19 vaccine.
- Understand current events and allow more time to prepare your emergency food, water, and medical supplies.
- Monitor local guidance for updated evacuation plans and shelters, including pet shelters.
- When you check on neighbors and friends, be sure to follow physical distancing recommendations (staying at least 6 feet from others) and other CDC recommendations to protect yourself and others.
Prepare for an evacuation:
- Prepare a “go kit” with personal items you cannot do without during an emergency.
- Hand sanitizer
- Bar or liquid soap
- Disinfectant wipes
- Masks for everyone age two or older.
- Have several ways to receive weather alerts, such as National Weather Service cell phone alerts, NOAA Weather Radio, or (@NWS) Twitter alerts.
- Is your local public shelter open? If you need to evacuate your home, your shelter location may have changed. Make sure you have a plan.
- If you need to go to a disaster shelter, follow CDC recommendations for staying safe and healthy in a public disaster shelter.
- Follow guidance from your local public health or emergency management officials on when and where to shelter.
- Make a plan and prepare a disaster kit for your pets.
- Follow safety precautions when using transportation to evacuate.
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.