In advance of the potentially extreme inclement weather expected to occur by way of Hurricane Sandy, Hackensack University Medical Center has been taking every precaution and preparation to be able to continue safely providing patients with the highest-quality care. The medical center will be staffing an incident Command Center on its campus throughout the storm to manage any emergencies.
A Level II Trauma Center, Hackensack University Medical Center is also a National Incident Management System (NIMS) compliant organization. The team has been busy preparing over the last few days and has taken appropriate mitigation activities, which include:
• Risk assessment conducted related to storm impact and infrastructure.
• Critical transportation pathways with exterior windows are being protected.
• Extra batteries for biomedical equipment are on Patient Care Units.
• Essential equipment is backed up by generator.
• Patient Care areas have portable radios and cell phones.
• All patient care and infrastructure (Plant Operations, Information Technology, Communications, etc.) staff for three shifts will be on-site and plan to stay at the hospital for the next three days.
• The hospital Command Center will be set up today and will be manned by the hospital’s All Hazards Incident Management Team today through Wednesday morning, depending on the impact of Hurricane Sandy on Northern NJ. The Command Center is linked to stakeholder agencies like OEM and NJDHSS through:
• Land Line
• HAM Radio
• UHF, VHF, 800 MHz Radios
There are multiple redundant vendors (Verizon, AT&T, Lightpath) providing communications service from multiple feeds.
• Fuel and water tankers are on site for re-supply in case roadways are blocked and supplies cannot get through.
• Medications and medical supplies have been stockpiled to assure continuity of patient care.
• Water and food supplies have been increased.
• Urban Areas Security Initiative (UASI) Disaster Supplies have staged at the hospital (lighting, cots, comfort kits, etc.).
• Disaster oxygen supplies are ready for deployment.
• Portable air conditioning units and fans are pre-deployed to key areas.
• Parking garage restrictions are in place.
• Emergency plans for medical waste removal /storage are in place.
• Emergency plans for water utility failure are in place.
• Staff staying at the medical center will be provided with sleeping accommodations and meals and are ready to care for our patients throughout the storm.
• At-risk patients adjacent to windows are being relocated to safe areas.
• The Command Center will provide information to patients and families throughout the incident.
“We are doing our part to help our patients, their families, and our community through this natural disaster,” said Joseph Feldman, M.D., chairman of Emergency Medicine at Hackensack University Medical Center. “Educating people of steps to take is of vital importance – I suggest the following two tips: firstly, have an emergency plan in place. Secondly, be prepared; this means ensuring you have adequate water, batteries, cash, medications, canned food, and flashlights on hand.”
All of these measures are taken with patient safety and the safety of the entire community in mind.
About Hackensack University Medical Center
HackensackUMC, a non-profit teaching and research hospital located in Bergen County, New Jersey, is the largest provider of inpatient and outpatient services in the state, and home to the only Level II Trauma Center in the county. This 775-bed facility has gone beyond traditional thinking by creating an entire campus of care, including: the Heart & Vascular Hospital, the John Theurer Cancer Center, the Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital, and the Donna A. Sanzari Women’s Hospital. As a result of using science and creativity to push medicine further, HackensackUMC was listed as the number one hospital in New Jersey and one of the top four New York metro area hospitals by the U.S. News & World Report, and has received nine national rankings in: Cancer; Cardiology & Heart Surgery; Ear, Nose & Throat; Gastroenterology; Geriatrics; Neurology & Neurosurgery; Orthopedics; Urology; and the Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital ranked as one of the Top 25 Best Children’s Hospitals for Neurology and Neurosurgery in the 2012-13 Best Children’s Hospitals list. The medical center has also been named one of the Thomson Reuters 100 Top Hospitals® and one of America's 50 Best Hospitals by HealthGrades®. It is listed among the Leapfrog Top Hospitals List, received 18 Gold Seals of Approval™ by the Joint Commission, and is listed as one of the 50 Best Hospitals in America by Becker’s Hospital Review. It was the first hospital in New Jersey and second in the nation to become a Magnet® recognized hospital for nursing excellence. The medical center is the Hometown Hospital of the New York Giants and the New York Red Bulls, and remains committed to its community through fundraising and community events. To learn more about one of the nation’s 50 best hospitals, visit: www.HackensackUMC.org.