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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

2011 Tropical Storm Irene Response in Maine

HPP Helps Maine CDC Get the Right Plans and Resources to Weather the Storm

When Tropical Storm Irene struck Maine in August 2011, the Maine Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Maine CDC) and other state agencies needed to have the right resources and plans ready to be protect health and save lives throughout the storm.  Thanks to advance planning and support from the Hospital Preparedness Program (HPP), they were better able to communicate with internal partners and the public; keep track of available hospital beds; and activate plans that were put in place before the storm.
 
In order for responders to keep people safe, they need to be able to stay in contact with each other and the people they were serving.  With the help of funding and support provided by HPP, Maine’s Health Alert Network (Maine HAN) provided important information to healthcare and public health officials throughout the state.  Maine HAN kept emergency response personnel informed of daily conference calls on issues related to preparations for and response to the storm. Health officials also used Maine HAN to disseminate information on the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning to the public. 
 
When a disaster strikes, resources are scarce - particularly hospital beds.  Hospitals need to be able to tell how many hospital beds are available at each facility. Hospitals reported on bed availability to Maine CDC and other emergency response organizations on a daily basis so that patients could be routed to the best available place to take care of their needs. 
 
Maine CDC Regional Resource Centers, Main CDC Office of Public Health Emergency Preparedness and hospitals coordinated with each other throughout the storm to provide the best care possible.  Hospital activated and staffed their Emergency Operations Centers and Hurricane Preparedness Guidelines were distributed to help prepare hospitals.
 
HPP and Maine CDC have been working together to improve Maine CDC’s Incident Management System, which was activated for the storm.  The Incident Management System was used to improve response preparations; ensure that roles and responsibilities were clearly defined; and improve situational awareness and communication. 

  • This page last reviewed: May 16, 2012