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There are definite measures that the CEO of a hospital and his or her staff should do to prepare for a hurricane.
First, this is a problem that historically has only affected communities along the southeastern and Gulf coasts of the country. As hurricanes reach further up the Atlantic coast, however, communities all the way up to New England are increasingly having to take preparatory actions, as Hurricane Sandy reached territory not usually affected by that particular type of weather pattern.
The basic measures that hospitals in potential disaster zones are expected to take include keeping adequate supplies of plasma, antibiotics and bandages on hand, along with maintenance of emergency generators sufficient to provide enough electricity should the hurricane disrupt power supplies. Hospital staff has to be trained to respond to mass casualty occurrances so that it is not caught off guard by the sudden influx of seriously injured people. The hospital security staff has to similarly be trained to be able to handle a major surge of patients and families seeking not just treatment but also safety from the storm. Many of the people streaming into a hospital in the midst of a mass casualty crisis are in a state of shock or mental impairment, and consequently are not thinking rationally, if at all. Both medical and security staff have to be able to respond to that unique situation calmly and authoritatively. Maintaining order in the midst of chaos is vital if the hospital is to function adequately.
In addition to the above measures, the CEO and his or her staff need to ensure that the hospital does not lose communication with the outside world. Staff must be able to communicate with local and state emergency response agencies throughout the crisis to ensure it receives whatever support might be available in the event it becomes overwhelmed despite advance preparations.
Unlike tornadoes, which can develop extremely quickly, move extremely quickly, and automatically destroy everything in their path, the approach of hurricanes can be tracked and predicted for days before they reach land. That provides hospital staffs an opportunity to prepare that is not present in the case of tornadoes or terrorist attacks.
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