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Top Things Hospitals and Healthcare Facilities Should Do Pre and Post Hurricane Laura

Healthcare officials in hospital conference room

We know you're probably anxious about the potential impact of Hurricane Laura and how it might affect your patients and staff. We know you're busy dealing with many things to prepare right now and you'll be inundated after the storm passes as you manage the response, so we want to offer a few high-level things you should consider and be doing pre and post-event to ensure you're minimizing risk and maximizing your ability to respond and recover quickly and effectively.

Pre-Event Tips

  • Check fuel levels of generators and vehicles
  • Ensure equipment that requires battery backup is operational
  • Determine multiple evacuation routes for staff and patients from multiple floors – options may be to go up before coming back down
  • Ensure mass notification systems are working (conduct a test prior to landfall) and make sure that staff has their contact information updated
  • Have an accountability process for staff and patients – ensure staff understand what that process is, and have redundant methods to account for power outages
  • Review the Continuity of Operations Plan/Business Continuity Plan (COOP/BCP) and refresh the teams on pertinent portions of the plan, including the succession of authority and delegations of authority (which usually is tied to financial spending or ability to obligate funds)
  • Identify if certain operations, per the COOP/BCP, should cease and what would allow those operations to resume; communicate this with the team
  • Communicate with staff, patients, and their families about what the hospital is doing. Many patients may not be able to have their families with them because of COVID-19. Now more than ever, communicating the hospital’s plan will mean families know what is happening with their loved ones and the hospital’s reputation remains firm in the community
  • Communicate how families can contact the hospital or their loved ones (the patients) after the storm. If patients are being moved, how will this be communicated to the families?
  • Take pictures and videos of the hospital structures and property, inside and out prior to the storm
  • Establish a cost code (unique to the hurricane) that will be used to track all time (labor) and material (supplies & equipment) costs associated with the hurricane response and recovery

Post-Event Tips

  • If able to communicate do so! Communicate with staff, patients, patients’ families, media/public, board members or other advisory members
  • Activate any portions of the COOP/BCP as necessary – prior to the storm, staff should know which parts of the plan would be most likely to be activated (this is important in case power and internet goes down and the hospital cannot communicate with teams)
  • Account for all staff and patients immediately
  • Take pictures/video of all of the structures and property of the hospital immediately after the storm (this should show storm surge or flooding, damage, debris, etc.)
  • Contact your insurance company and/or public adjuster if appropriate

Contact our team if you need help with documenting and tracking your activities and costs, understanding what costs will be eligible for FEMA reimbursement, and/or if you need on-site advisory assistance during your response.