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Hurricane Preparedness: Hospitals hunker down

Photo Courtesy of the University of Mississippi Medical Center

Mississippi is no stranger to severe weather, especially in the form of a hurricane or tropical storm. While families and residents prepare, businesses and hospitals do the same. 

Dr. Karen Lu, Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer at MD Anderson Center in Houston, Texas said that prepping for a disaster is something done way ahead of time.

“Because of where we are located in Houston we are always prepared for a hurricane. We have a team that makes sure we have enough food, medicine, blood, and staff on hand for these hurricanes,” said Dr. Lu.

She recommends that hospitals always keep their focus on patient safety. Everyone plays a roll from a staff perspective, but don’t forget dining services, house keeping, and clinical labs. She said, it is really a team effort.

Depending on the type of storm recovery for a disaster can look different. Lu said it is always important to get up and open as soon as possible.

“We learned from hurricane Allison in 2001 about flood gates. So now we have flood gates that protect our building,” said Dr. Lu.

Another aspect that is affected is staff. Often times hospital staff can be severely affected when a storm hits. They can lose their homes and belongings so offering support and assistance through organizations like FEMA is a necessity.

Again, the most important part in dealing with a hurricane or natural disaster is to always make sure you prepare ahead of time.

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