Medical Construction & Design

JUL-AUG 2015

Medical Construction & Design (MCD) is the industry's leading source for news and information and reaches all disciplines involved in the healthcare construction and design process.

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BY RICHARD KAHN Every time a major storm capable of widespread damage and destruction occurs, organizations and their facilities are severely impacted. For healthcare organizations, this can lead to levels of damage that render key spaces or entire medical centers inoperable for extended periods of time. There is very little healthcare orga- nizations can do to predict when these natural disasters will occur, but there is a great deal they can do to prepare and respond. In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, the deadliest and most destruc- tive storm of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season, as well as the sec- ond-costliest hurricane in United States history, the Manhattan VA Medical Center was left damaged and inoperable. The 1950s build- ing suf ered serious fl ood damage during the storm that impacted major utilities servicing the building, including electrical, heating, fi re protection, elevator, water pumping and IT support structures. The damage would ultimately force the Manhattan VAMC to close for nearly seven months following the storm. In the days leading up to the arrival of Hurricane Sandy, and the weeks, months and years that followed, the Manhattan VAMC has taken key measures to ensure no staf and patients were injured, minimize and assess damage, recover and ultimately better prepare itself for future natural disasters. The Manhattan VAMC's response demonstrates several best practices and ideas other healthcare organizations can learn from should they face a similar situation in the future. Prepare now The time to prepare for natural disasters is now — not in the days leading up to a storm's arrival. For healthcare organizations, having a plan in place for evacuation or other safety measures can ensure patient safety and reduce care disruptions. The Manhattan VAMC took several measures in advance of Hurricane Sandy's arrival to evacuate patients and get them to safe places where they could continue to receive care. The VA was also ready to respond as soon as the storm let up, sending a damage assessment team from its Central Of ce of Construction and Facilities Management to RESPONDING IN THE WAKE OF NATURAL DISASTER RECOVER, RETHINK, THRIVE 888 In 2014, around 888 tornadoes were reported in the United States. MCDM AG.COM | J U LY/AUGUST 2015 | Medical Construction & Design 27

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