Last year's Superstorm Sandy initiated power outages in New York City hospitals and health care facilities that forced the evacuation of approximately 6,000 patients, including newborn babies. The situation could have been disastrous, but health care officials credit the city's preparedness procedures as the reason why not one patient died or was severely injured during their transport.
In the new issue of NFPA Journal, experts discuss a concerted push for emergency preparedness at health care facilities that may explain the successful evacuations during Sandy and other recent natural disasters. For instance, the 2012 edition of NFPA 99, Health Care Facilities, has reinforced provisions that help identify hazard vulnerabilities and organize an emergency operations plan, and many long-term care facilities now make a point to conduct evacuation exercises.
“Some of the encouraging things I’ve seen [in hospitals affected by Sandy] is that in some situations where a facility lost power, they didn’t have to evacuate because they had plans in place for that event,” Chad Beebe, director of codes and standards for the American Society for Healthcare Engineering and a member of the NFPA 99 Health Care Facilities Committee, tells NFPA Journal. “I think that’s a testament to their planning and the care for their patients. For those facilities that had to evacuate, that’s also a huge success story.”
Read the entire feature in the March/April issue of NFPA Journal.