OLD BRIDGE and PERTH AMBOY, NJ, October 26, 2012… Similar to New Jersey homeowners, businesses and municipalities, Raritan Bay Medical Center’s (RBMC) Old Bridge and Perth Amboy hospitals are preparing for Hurricane Sandy. But while inclement weather presents challenges for everyone; maintaining accessibility and critical patient care supplies, power disruption preparation and staff attendance, is of utmost importance for hospitals. This is true at RBMC where multiple response plans for inclement weather are in place to ensure that even during bad weather; it’s business as usual.
Coincidently, RBMC’s Michael Semple, MBA, NREMT-P, director of EMS & Emergency Preparedness and Michelle Golba-Norek, RN, BSN, MS, CEN, MICN, community health education manager, discussed hospital emergency preparedness, safety and how to put together a family safety kit on the October 21 Health Navigator radio program on WOR 710 AM. The show podcast can be heard at http://www.wor710.com/topic/play_window.php?audioType=Episode&audioId=6088812
The following summarizes the major activities RBMC takes to ensure patient care is unaffected by weather:
- RBMC’s maintenance staff secured both Old Bridge and Perth Amboy locations for high winds and flooding, removing debris, storm drains have been cleaned, garbage receptacles have been emptied and sandbags are at the ready.
- RBMC has been in contact with the Old Bridge, Perth Amboy and New Jersey Offices of Emergency Management so that the medical center and all organizations coordinate joint efforts.
- The medical center is setting up incident command centers in advance of the hurricane at both locations to coordinate medical center emergency activities.
- Emergency protocols and communication systems have been reviewed.
- Power outage communication systems have been established.
- The admitting department will work with nursing supervisors to consolidate patients as much as possible, freeing up staff to be reassigned if necessary.
- RBMC supervisors working nights, days and evenings are experienced in handling inclement weather situations and ensuring that patient safety is maintained.
- Administrative supervisors will re-assign or float necessary patient care staff as needed. Staff will arrive early or stay late to miss the worse weather conditions.
- Sleepover areas for essential staff are available in case travel isn’t possible.
- Both Old Bridge and Perth Amboy have backup power generators with a significant amount of fuel in case of power outage.
- Surplus food, water, linen and other supplies are stored for patients and staff. Monday shipments will arrive Saturday instead.
- Medications and clinical supplies have been stockpiled in anticipation of inclement weather.
- Vendors are on call for additional supplies if necessary.
- Families may continue to call the hospital’s main numbers and ask for patient information for information about loved ones, or if they are aware of the nursing unit, they may call directly. Perth Amboy: (732) 442-3700 and Old Bridge: (732) 360-1000.
The goal of all inclement weather activities is to ensure that patient care and safety is unaffected, emergency medical situations can be handled effectively and that regular hospital operations continue.