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Hurricane Irene Sets Hospitals Scrambling to Prepare

Margaret Dick Tocknell, for HealthLeaders Media, August 26, 2011

Disabled and electricity-dependent residents come to the hospital to keep their oxygen tanks and other medical machinery running. Families of patients gather at the facility.

Patrick Detwiler, director of marketing and public relations for the hospital, said the facility orders extra supplies and food for the community. Many supplies come from other parts of North Carolina. To avoid transport problems, the hospital has stockpiled enough food and other supplies to go seven days without deliveries. In addition to clinical staff the hospital will also house housekeeping staff during the hurricane.

Peninsula Regional Medical Center, Salisbury, MD

This 363-bed hospital has an emergency operations team that has been meeting this week and will work throughout the weekend monitoring the weather and coordinating with state and local emergency management officials.

The medical center has secured its grounds to be sure there's no signage or furniture that could become airborne in high winds. A back-up generator was expected on Thursday and a 6,000-gallon potable water tanker will arrive on Friday. A 600-gallon pump to flush water from low lying areas will also be delivered on Friday. An inventory of linens and food supplies was performed and enough supplies to extend into next week were ordered.

Bayhealth Medical Center, Dover, DE

Bayhealth Medical Center expects Hurricane Irene to hit its hospitals in Dover and Milford with 75 to 100 mile per hour winds sometime Saturday night. The brunt of the storm should be out of the area by Sunday morning.

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