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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

HPP in Action: Stories from the Field

For over 15 years, the Hospital Preparedness Program (HPP) has played a vital role in providing the funding and support that health care coalitions (HCCs) need to prepare for and respond to emergencies that overwhelm the day-to-day capacity of the health care system.

With HPP’s support, HCCs throughout the country conduct preparedness activities and coordinate effective responses to a variety of disasters and emergencies—from hurricanes to chemical spills to terrorist attacks. HPP’s Stories from the Field highlight the life-saving work of HCCs across the country.

Are you an awardee or HCC with a story to tell? Please share your story with us!


Natural Disasters

  • Responding to Harvey: How a Houston-area HCC Modeled Success
    August 2017

    HPP provided federal funding, guidance, and technical assistance to promote health care system preparedness and response. The program brought together key players in health care and emergency response disciplines to prepare for, respond to, and recover from Hurricane Harvey. Learn More >>

  • Michigan HCC Responds to Heating Crisis, Keeps 2,000 Residents Warm and Home for the Holidays
    December 2016

    A predominately tribal community in L'Anse, Michigan, was left without heat after a car crashed into a natural gas pipe station. As temperatures dropped to 25 degrees, Michigan's Region 8 HCC coordinated a supplemental heating plan for the long-term care facility using heating equipment acquired with HPP funding. Learn More >>

  • HPP Funding Helps New York’s Health Care System to Care for Patients Before, During, and After Hurricane Sandy
    October 2012
    The storm surge from Hurricane Sandy struck New York City and its impacts were felt throughout the healthcare system. Because of the funding and guidance that it received from HPP, New York’s healthcare system was able care for patients more safely and effectively before, during and after the storm.  Learn More >>

  • Tornadoes in Kentucky Destroy Hospital; HCC’s Preplanning and Coordinated Response Enable Quick Mobilization of Needed Resources
    March 2012
    On March 2, 2012, numerous tornadoes swept across eastern Kentucky. Disasters were declared in 12 counties, with 23 fatalities, and more than 200 injuries. The tornadoes severely damaged the critical access hospital in West Liberty. The coordination and cooperation of the Healthcare Planning Coalitions in Kentucky were instrumental in helping the community prepare for, respond to, and recovery from the disaster. Learn More >>


Large-scale Public Events

  • Ohio HCC Coordinates Medical Preparations for Republican National Convention
    July 2016
    In incredible numbers, media personnel and masses of tourists and visitors congregating in Cleveland for the Republican National Convention. The city began planning over a year ago for emergencies and to safely accommodate the anticipated visitors. The Northeast Ohio Regional HCC, funded by HPP, proved critical to coordinating the city’s medical preparations.  Learn More >>

  • Arizona HCC Creates Super Bowl Task Force to Prepare Whole Health Care Community for Super Bowl and College Football National Championship
    June 2016
    Each year, avid football fans gather to support their favorite teams at the heart of professional and college football competitions. For emergency preparedness professionals, highly visible mass gatherings like these sporting events require significant planning, coordination, and organization. To help ensure the health care system was ready to respond to a potential surge in medical services, the Arizona Coalition for Healthcare Emergency Response-Central rallied health care and private sector organizations to create a Super Bowl Task Force.  Learn More >>

  • Pennsylvania HCC Prepares Medical Community for Papal Visit
    September 2015
    The Southeast Pennsylvania Health Care Coalition, which was formed as a result of HPP’s efforts in the region, participated in planning activities and brought together the medical community to prepare for any disruption during the papal visit.   Learn More >>


Ebola and Infectious Disease

  • Answering the Tough Questions: Kentucky HCC Participates in Ebola Response Exercise
    October 2016

    Two years after the first outbreak of Ebola began, Kentucky's Region 7 HCC continues to train, exercise, and plan together for the possibility of a patient with a highly infectious disease at a local health care facility. Region 7 members use HPP funding to promote collaboration so that each member has the necessary tools and trained health care personnel to respond to such emergencies. Learn More >>

  • Virginia HCC Conducts Drive-thru Vaccination Exercise; Vaccinating 515 Citizens in 2.5 Hours
    October 2015
    Every year, the Virginia Department of Health (VDOH) conducts mass drive-thru influenza point of dispensing vaccination exercises held across the state. In October 2015, VDH’s Central Shenandoah Health District vaccinated approximately 515 citizens in 2.5 hours. The exercise is a great example of the seamless integration of organizations representing Virginia’s Northwest Health Care Coalition.  Learn More >>

  • HPP Funding Helps New York City Respond to a Patient with a Confirmed Case of Ebola
    October 2014
    HPP has provided funding to the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene since 2002. This sustained investment, along with the Ebola emergency supplemental funding, allowed the city and its partner health facilities and emergency management organizations to successfully respond to one of only a few confirmed patients with Ebola in the U.S.  Learn More >>


Industrial and Transportation Accidents

  • Regional coordination and patient tracking during passenger train derailment response
    December 2017
    When a passenger train traveling a new route from Seattle to Portland derailed, the Northwest Healthcare Response Network played a critical role in coordinating the health care system's response. Supported in part by the HPP, the Network leads the health care coalition encompassing three counties, and serves the largest concentration of health care organizations in Washington State. Learn More >>

  • The Story You Haven’t Heard: How the Northwest Healthcare Response Network Saved Lives After a Tragic Tour Vehicle Crash
    September 2015
    A tour bus crash killed and injured foreign national students and tourists on Seattle’s Aurora Bridge. Within an hour of the incident, the Northwest Healthcare Response Network triaged and moved the injured to area hospitals demonstrating the HCC's role during disasters and emergencies.  Learn More >>

  • Knoxville/East Tennessee HCC Helps Synchronize Response to Decontaminate, Monitor, and Treat 157 Patients Exposed to Cyanide
    July 2015
    On a rainy July night in rural Blount County, Tennessee, a cargo train carrying hazardous materials passed through a residential area. During that trip, a wheel on the train rubbed a whole in one of the tankers carrying the flammable and toxic chemical acrylonitrile. The chemical began leaking and sinking into the soil. The partnership between HPP, the Tennessee Department of Health, and the local HCC ensured that the situation was properly identified as a serious threat that required swift and coordinated action.  Learn More >>

  • Pennsylvania Regional HCC Facilitate Swift, Coordinated Response to Amtrak Train Derailment
    May 2015
    In May 2015, in route from Washington, DC to New York City, an Amtrak train carrying 238 passengers derailed. More than 200 were injured and eight killed. The large volume of patients highlighted the need for a coordinated and regional approach to preparedness. The Pennsylvania Regional HCC acted swiftly to save lives. Learn More >>

  • Day Before Mining Accident Colorado Coalition Receives Training; Drills Help Save the Lives of 20 Men
    November 2013
    A mining accident struck near the small south western town of Ouray, Colorado, where only hours earlier the emergency response community had gathered together to be part of a special HPP-funded training on the Mass Casualty Incident Command System.  Learn More >>

  • Over 30 Staff from Area Hospitals and First Responder Agencies Participate in Nebraska HHC-Sponsored Decontamination Training
    June 2013
    In Nebraska, the HCC identified a need for decontamination training and sponsored a two-day course to help area hospitals close gaps in decontamination procedures. Learn More >>

  • Fertilizer Plant Explosion Test Medical Services Surge Capability in West Texas; Hospitals Thankful for HPP-funded Planning and Training Exercises
    April 2013
    On April 17, 2013, a fertilizer plant exploded in West, Texas. Hundreds of residents and responders were injured, testing the community’s ability to handle a surge in demand for medical services. Immediately, community and state response agencies put medical surge plans – local and regional – into action. Learn More >>


Terrorism and Crime

  • Umpqua Community College Shooting – How Oregon HCC Established Wellness Center to Help Community Grieve and Heal
    October 2015
    In Roseburg, Oregon, at Umpqua Community College, students were gathered for a writing class when tragedy struck. A mass shooting by a fellow student occurred that left a profound and lasting effect on the local community. With funding support from HPP, the Oregon Health Authority Region 3 Coalition opened the Umpqua Wellness Center to provide grief and behavioral health counseling and support for those navigating the tragic shooting.  Learn More >>

  • Eastern Tennessee HCC Stage One of Nation’s Largest Disaster Drills; Relationships within Coalition Help Regions work Across Jurisdictions
    November 2013
    Fifty-four hospitals across Eastern Tennessee drew together November 6, to stage one of the nation’s largest disaster drills. The scenario opened with two coordinated explosions at the Neyland Stadium, where large crowds gathered for an event in Knoxville. The involvement of the East Tennessee Healthcare Coalition was critical and showcased how established relationships have a direct impact on the success of a large scale mock causality event.  Learn More >>

  • HPP Funding in California Supports Active Shooter Response Training for Area Hospitals
    September 2013
    In an active shooter situation in a hospital, the last thing you want is for the hospital staff to freeze. The staff needs to know what to do and how to respond in different situations - and HPP-sponsored training is helping them learn to do that.  Learn More >>


Pediatrics and Special Populations

  • Arizona Pediatric HCC Conducts Joint Exercise to Evaluate How Schools and Hospitals Interact in an Emergency
    December 2015
    Children have special needs that must be incorporated into emergency preparedness and response efforts. The Arizona Pediatric Disaster Coalition recognized the pressing need to prioritize pediatric patients and involve the education system in preparedness efforts. In December 2015, the coalition helped coordinate a joint exercise to evaluate how schools and hospitals interact in the wake of an emergency.  Learn More >>

  • This page last reviewed: May 29, 2018