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July 13, 2022

Professional Membership Group Highlight: Mike Puckett

Mike Puckett, a member of SCHA’s SC Society for Healthcare Emergency Management (SCSHEM), has worked at McLeod Health for the last seven years. Puckett is a US Navy veteran with a long history in emergency management, and he still volunteers his time on the weekends and evenings to help meet needs in the community on top of all the security and emergency management stuff he does for McLeod Health. SCHA caught up with Mike to learn more about his work at McLeod and how his background informs his current work.

How did you get started in the emergency management field?

I started many years ago with my different roles in the US Navy and a background in Hazardous Materials along with Incident Command experience.

What do you like about the work you do at McLeod Health? 

I would have to say not being really sure what each day is going to bring, since it changes from day to day. Mostly the feeling of helping our staff and patients to be safe and allow for our staff to continue providing patient care during a disaster or event without interruption.

Tell us about the most significant emergency your facility or facilities experienced. What was the impact on the health system? How did you respond? 

Well recently COVID-19 changed all our lives over the last two years or so. But in my short seven years here at McLeod, we have had tropical storms and hurricanes, and you can go ahead a throw in an ice storm or two. Many of our facilities experienced damage during these storms. We prepared prior to any event that we have had, by educating our staff and leadership of their roles prior to the events. We stood up incident command at all of our affected facilities to manage an event. We also stand up a Corporate Emergency Operations Center to meet the needs of our local facilities and ensure they do not have any unmet needs.

What have been the biggest changes to the field since you started working in it? 

There have been many changes since I started in this field, basically been doing this type of work for over forty years. I think the most significant changes were from the learning from Hurricane Katrina and the changes in CMS 482.15 to make everyone in healthcare meet the same standards. We now establish 96-hour sustainability for our facilities, we utilize incident command, we have policies and procedures for all types of events. We conduct risk assessments for natural hazards, technological hazards, and security related items at each of our facilities.

So what does an emergency manager enjoy doing off the clock?

I will share a little info about myself. I believe we shall live the role that we have each day in our local community, it helps to build relationships with your needed partners. It builds the required trust factor that is needed to be successful in emergency management. I am a Captain at South Lynches Fire Department since 2005, Deputy with Florence County Sheriff’s Department since 2006, and I spent 20 years, 7 days, and a few odd hours in the US Navy. I believe those things have made me the successful emergency management professional that I am today and built the many faces required to be good in this field.

Away from the job I share my life with my better half, Susan. I love to golf, fish, workout, but most of all we enjoy camping 3-4 days a month in our camper and traveling to different locations.

Mike Puckett, on his days off.