|Published:||Jun 28, 2012 1:08 AM EDT|
|Updated:||Jun 28, 2012 1:08 AM EDT|
CAPE CORAL, Fla. - One of the busiest places before, during and after a storm, is a hospital.
Lee Memorial Health Systems says it has a plan in place to handle any emergency and the proof, is in the way it handled Hurricanes Charley and Wilma.
Wendy Piascik, Vice President of Patient Care Services at Cape Coral Hospital was here when Charley hit. She explains how the hospital system kept staff members rested and fresh.
"We have "A" teams which are the people who are going to be onsite during the storm, and 'B' team members. And the "B" team members are our backup," she said.
The hospital also tries to discharge any patients that doesn't need to be there before a storm hits, to make room for new patients in the aftermath.
"We do have special needs patients that are identified by physicians in the community and we get a list at the beginning of hurricane season," Wendy explained.
After the disaster, the hospital is on the lookout for people with storm-related injuries.
"Usually it's a couple of hours after the all clear is given people go out and do things... it's what you try to do afterwards with cutting down trees, and moving things around," said Wendy.
And her job caring for patients during a disaster is made easier because of technical support.
"It's really hard to operate on somebody or work on somebody when you're trying to hold a flashlight," said Rod Allen, System Director of Plant Operations.
Rod and his staff makes sure Lee Memorial hospitals have electricity, and all other life-saving support systems needed in times of disaster.
"Before a storm one of the first things we check is make sure we have all our fuels and all of our oxygen and gas supplies," he said.
Along with keeping their massive generators running for as many as 96 hours, if needed, Rod told us that they also need to protect that power source from flooding.
"Our flood tube is what we use. We fill it up with water and it expands out and we stack them up three high and we're able to dyke off our property," he explained.
Finally, feeding the massive response teams, as well as patients, is a giant undertaking.
"It costs us roughly between $300,000 and $350,000 to activate our disaster order," explained Larry Altier, Director of Food and Nutrition.
Larry told us that after a storm, delivery supply routes may be compromised..
"We are prepared to handle 14-days of non-replenishment... in a disaster we go down to a non-select menu. It is a very basic, bare-bones menu," he told us.
For Charley, it turned out they had more than enough, but they know the next storm could be worse.
"You're supporting people internally, both patients and staff, you want to make sure that they're primary concern is dealing with a disaster, not worrying about where their next meal is," said Larry.
It's important to note that hospitals are not shelters except for people who apply and get pre-approval from their physicians.
And here are some tips on keeping yourself out of the hospital, after a storm.
--Don't trim trees or remove debris near damaged or downed power lines.
--Only a licensed electrician should repair damage to your home's electrical.system.
--Don't drive through standing water on the road.
--Practice common food safety tips
--Pay attention to boil water notices.