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Hurricane Sandy: How one hospital prepares
Good Samaritan Hospital's storm preparations are almost mind boggling: 40,000 gallons of bottled water. Enough food to feed 500 people a day for more than a week. A dual redundant power system -- and a backup generator, just in case.
On the verge of potentially catastrophic natural disasters, the kind some are predicting Hurricane Sandy will inflict on the region, the 370-bed, Suffern-based hospital preps by creating staging areas and conducting drills, hospital spokeswoman Deborah Marshall said. Ahead of Sandy, Marshall said, hospital employees conducted exercises like securing data servers with layers of drapes.
They've also set up 150 cots in the hospital's auditorium, so employees don't have to worry about braving local roads if the full force of the hurricane is brought down on the region. Doctors, nurses and aides know they might have to stay, Marshall said.
"They understand it's all hands on deck," she said.
The hospital has other areas, such as its chapel, that can accommodate guests and people seeking shelter. Because Good Samaritan is out of the fallout zone of Indian Point -- but close enough to serve as a sanctuary for people fleeing from a potential nuclear catastrophe -- handling an influx of patients and people seeking shelter is a central part of the hospital's preparedness plan, Marshall said.
And the emergency plan assumes the worst when it comes to communications, using lessons learned from the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, when phone and cellular networks were crippled in the aftermath.
"On 9/11, we had no cell service," Marshall said. "It's something we learned after 9/11, that you have to be prepared not to be able to communicate."
Tags: hospital , medical center , Suffern , Good Samaritan Hospital , emergency preparedness , 9/11 , patients , nurses , doctors , power , electricity , generators , medicine , respirators , communications , disaster plan