In light of the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey and the impending landfall of Hurricane Irma, we would like to share an article published in the September/October 2005 issue of Radiology Management that may be helpful to those who are preparing for, or dealing with the aftermath of a natural disaster.
By Robert Junk, AIA, and Tobias Gilk, MArch
- While the images of Hurricane Katrina are still vivid, it is important to draw from them the lessons that can be applied to protect patient care services in the event of other disasters. It is important that healthcare providers anticipate the possibility of these events and plan accordingly.
- A comprehensive plan involves preparation for a disaster, prioritization of the community’s immediate needs to restore critical patient care services first, and prevention of future event impacts.
- A number of considerations should serve as a starting point for conversations regarding a facility’s emergency preparedness plan. These involve identifying potential natural and man-made disasters, utility interruptions, equipment damage, patient transportation, case prioritization, and potential outside resources.
- Some important points to remember when preparing for substantial wind and flood damage:
- Follow original equipment manufacturer (OEM) recommendations regarding preemptive equipment power-down/ramp-down, particularly for concerns about storm quenches.
- For magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanners left running, top off cryogens, if possible.
- Cover all non-removable equipment with taped-down heavy plastic sheeting to protect against roof failures/leaks.
- Raise all electronic equipment and emergency response supplies as high off the floor as safely possible to protect against flooding.
- Provide adequate food and potable water for staff/patients that cannot be evacuated.
- Prior to the storm, contact vendors to secure options on mobile imaging equipment, portable generators, and cryogen service after the storm passes.
- If power is lost , restore power to the MRI cold-head as quickly as possible.
Please note: The opportunity to earn quick credit for this article has passed, and the test is no longer available.