As many of you may have seen on the news, the tropics are heating up as we enter the peak of hurricane season. While we aren’t at direct risk in middle Georgia, many of our South Atlantic HCA hospitals are. Grand Strand in Myrtle Beach, Trident Health in Charleston, Colleton, and Memorial Health in Savannah are all at risk from the effects of Hurricane Florence, and they are preparing in the event that the track of this storm places them and their patients in harm’s way.
Our Coliseum Health System executive team is participating in emergency preparedness calls to coordinate efforts and offer any support we can in the event of landfall near any of our coastal facilities. This is also a good time to review our plans including A and B team lists, contact numbers, employee information line activation and equipment and supply lists.
What we know now about Florence is that it may be a bigger flood event than wind as it looks to stay just off the coast of South/North Carolina, moving 1-2 miles per hour over several days dumping between 10-60 inches of rain. That may force coastal communities to evacuate and move to the west, which will put pressure on roadways and fuel as we saw last year. Please keep your automobiles as close to full as you can until this threat is past.
There is a remote chance we may need to receive patients and would see a spike in ED visits if evacuation becomes reality. As you know, we have 26 Med/Surg beds and 10 behavioral health beds at CMC and some number of Med/Surg and ICU beds at CNH that may be called into action with staff from other hospitals caring for these patients. We will not know exactly how we may be asked to help until mid-week, but need to be prepared. Our colleagues know they can count on us to fulfill our universal mission -the care and improvement of human life.
It is an event like Hurricane Florence that best exhibits the strength of HCA, our South Atlantic Division and our individual hospitals to protect and care for the communities we serve in the most difficult times. Our ability to provide that care is the strength and commitment of our staff (you) and your commitment to our mission. Thanks in advance as we prepare to support our HCA colleagues.