What to Do Before a Disaster Strikes

In the face of Hurricane Sandy, New York area hospitals prepared to tackle the storm. At the time no one had any idea of the amount of destruction that would follow in Sandy’s wake. Few facilities could prepare properly for the magnitude of storm that was to follow. For the most part area healthcare facilities and hospitals weathered the storm.

And even though some facilities were overburdened with what Sandy threw at them, they were able to evacuate safely with no loss of life or disruption in patient services. In the process, though, many lessons were learned, making it easier for hospitals and healthcare professionals to prepare for the next big storm. The following areas pinpoint where hospitals, as well as businesses, should focus on before the next disaster hits.

Pre-Disaster Checks

It is imperative that facilities test their capabilities before an event happens. This should be done on a scheduled basis throughout the year and in the buildup to a known event. This way, administrators can uncover any problems and deal with them beforehand, not in the middle of a natural disaster such as Sandy.


Open lines of communication are important, and cell phone coverage cannot always be relied upon. It is crucial that facilities have a separate way of communication if the normal methods of communication are not available. This could include using land lines or even two-way radios if necessary. Communication with emergency personnel is also an essential part of effective disaster management.

One item that can go a long way toward lessening the stress of dealing with a crisis is to print out a list of contact numbers and have them on-hand. Having a whole list of reliable contacts with police, fire, and emergency personnel is great, unless that list is on a computer which can’t be accessed due to a power failure. Keep an updated, hard copy list on hand.

Supply Chain

Having items on hand for healthcare facilities, or any business, to do their job is crucial, especially in the midst of a crisis. Supply chains can be broken, and they often are when too much stress is put upon them. That is why facility managers need to have alternate lines of supply that they can call upon when things get bad. The benefits of a Group Purchasing Organization (GPO) cannot be overlooked. It is these organizations who make sure that care providers have what they need for their patients when they need it, regardless of the situation

For more information about disaster preparedness and lessons learned from Hurricane Sandy, visit: http://www.beckershospitalreview.com/hospital-management-administration/weathering-the-storm-how-to-prepare-for-severe-weather-emergencies.html