The CMH Response to Severe Weather
With tornadoes and severe weather experienced by our service area last night, it seems appropriate to talk about what preparations Citizens Memorial Healthcare takes to protect and support our patients, residents and employees when severe weather strikes.
Preparation begins with understanding the risks, building design and construction, and identifying safe zones or areas for in-place protection. CMH conducts an annual risk assessment in cooperation with local emergency planners throughout the service area, Region D and the state. Severe weather including tornadoes is a top priority for our area.
Our internal emergency response plans have identified specific activities to initiate once a severe weather advisory has been received from the National Weather Service or other public safety organization. Generally, we have already taken a number of precautions within the facilities before a warning is issued. Those precautions include: closing curtains and blinds to help protect against breaking glass from high winds, and keeping corridors clear in case relocation becomes necessary.
Upon the activation of a tornado warning, overhead announcements in each facility alert all staff members to the impending danger. Staff members immediately assume their assigned emergency roles and begin relocation of patients, residents and visitors to the designated safe zones within their facilities. They continue to provide care and comfort in those locations until the danger has passed. Once they are able to safely return to their rooms, each patient and resident is clinically reassessed.
Staff members receive annual training in emergency response and participate at least twice annually in tornado drills, practicing protective measures and relocation to safe zones.
CMH is an active participant in statewide planning among healthcare providers for emergency response and was actively involved in unified resource management during last night’s events, but that is a topic for a future blog…
Until next time,