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July 16, 2019

Hurricane Season 2019

With the first hurricane of the 2019 season named and tracked last week, it’s that time of year when South Carolina hospitals are giving a final check-up to their emergency preparedness and procedures. Hospital leaders in our state remember 2018’s Hurricanes Florence and Michael all too well, and they know that the time to prepare is now, not when a storm is heading our way.

That’s why as part of our member services, SCHA offers the guidance and expertise of John Williams, SCHA’s director of emergency preparedness, to help you know what to do right now, even while there’s no hurricane on the horizon for South Carolina. Here are some of John’s top priorities:

1. Familiarize yourself and your team with the Standard Operating Procedures so that you’ll know what to do when the storm is approaching. “Each year the SOPs are tweaked based on what we learn from the outcome of the last storm,” he said. “If you aren’t sure you have the latest copy, contact me.”

2. Be sure your facility has a signed Mutual Aid Agreement, with SCHA under which hospitals agree to help each other in an of evacuation. “You have a far-reaching network to help absorb your patients. At the end of the day we’re one South Carolina.”

3. Review your Emergency Operations Plan, off-site or in-place. This plan spells out where and how you’ll provide lodging and 96-hours’ worth of food, water and medicine for staff and patients.

4. Make sure your critical data sheet is up-to-date with DHEC.

5. Make sure your contingency power system is adequate.

Williams said discussions are taking place with DHEC regarding Mandatory Medical Evacuation. As new information develops, SCHA will update communicate the revised procedures. “Finally, make sure you provide good staff training and internal communication,” he said. “All of these preparations are essential, but they won’t work unless people on the ground know what to when the time comes.”ork unless people on the ground know what to when the time comes.”

A downloadable version of this list can be found here.