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Hospitals – Key to Emergency Preparedness

By Laura Wenger, RN
Executive Director
Practice Greenhealth

Hospitals – Key to Emergency Preparedness

As climate change continues to impact human health, record number of asthma and respiratory disease cases are brought forth each day to our hospital community. Diseases that were once thought of as only impacting foreign lands are now being seen for the first time in the United States. Our hospitals continue to plan, anticipate and prepare for the “WHAT IF” situations. While no one ever wants to think of tragic events hitting their community, from unexpected severe weather, power outages, clinical outbreaks or mass causalities, our hospitals need to be prepared to act on a moment’s notice.

When the public first hears the term “emergency preparedness” they tend to only think of the emergency room or EMS first responders. While this staff is absolutely a critical component to emergency preparedness, I must acknowledge the important and vital role that all departments in the hospital contribute to this preparedness. The whole hospital needs to be ready to triage, move patients to appropriate areas to make more room for the potential influx, the pharmacy needs to be well stocked, housekeeping needs to be ready to turn-over rooms quickly, and nursing available to ramp up staffing requirements for higher than anticipated patient census. Emergency preparedness impacts every department.

Many of our member hospitals have had to respond to extreme conditions recently. I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for the hard work and dedication to the communities you serve. I have always been a believer that it takes a village to raise a child, well by the same token, it also takes a strong and well-trained staff to run a hospital.

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