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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Missouri Winter Storms: January and February 2011

Hospital Preparedness Program (HPP)

Home and car covered in snow    Parts of Southwestern Missouri experienced record snowfalls in January and February 2011, so large they caused state legislature to shut down for an entire workweek. The Department of Health and Senior Services Situation Room was partially activated on January 31, 2011 in order to establish situational awareness of public health events related to weather or other emergencies and to maintain communication with DHSS partners and employees.
The Medical Surge Station was activated on February 1, 2011 and remained active until the afternoon of February 2, 2011 and monitored the HAvBED queries and gathered situational awareness regarding hospitals and long term care facilities.

The HPP manager conducted a conference call with partners across the state including the Missouri Hospital Association, Mid-America Regional Council, St. Louis Area Regional Resource System, Department of Mental Health and Missouri Primary Care Association to discuss the emergency situation. They concluded that the Incident Command structure should be used in the situation and that they needed to use the HPP-funded HAvBED system to determine the number of hospital beds available. HAvBED was also used to collect data on the degree of damage to the medical infrastructure in the impacted area, along with what utilities were available, number of days of fuel hospitals had available, and hospital staff absenteeism.

Once activated, the HAvBED poll and survey was conducted three times to update information. As the snowfall progressed, Missouri coordinated with Kansas to conduct the poll since that state, too, was affected by the storm. The major concern for hospitals was staff absenteeism given the safety concerns with driving during and after the storms. Some employees had to use transportation provided by the National Guard to reach their hospitals, while many staff stayed at the hospital rather than traveling home.

  • This page last reviewed: November 20, 2013