Public Health Emergency - Leading a Nation Prepared
Resources, services, plans and systems developed and sustained with Hospital Preparedness Program (HPP) grants were critical to the Middle Tennessee Flood response of May 2010.
During the event, the Tennessee State Emergency Operations Center was opened to aid in response efforts. This included Emergency Support Function (ESF) 8, which was activated to support the medical needs of the public. Also, the State Health Operation Center was activated to assist in response efforts and to provide support to the Regional Hospital Coordinators.
All Tennessee hospitals are National Incident Management System (NIMS) compliant; therefore the affected hospitals activated their Hospital Incident Command System (HICS) during the event. Several hospitals were forced to implement their medical evacuation plans. Some hospitals conducted vertical evacuation of patients to a higher floor, while one hospital performed a complete evacuation. Several nursing homes also evacuated their patients, many of which went to local hospitals. These evacuation and relocation efforts were made possible with the use of the National Hospital Available Beds for Emergencies and Disasters (HAvBed) system. This system was developed and supported with ASPR grant funds, and was activated throughout the Middle Tennessee area. HAvBed gave the hospitals the capability to communicate to multiple emergency responders, and provide bed availability updates at least every four hours.
Communication, sharing and partnership played a key role in successful response efforts. The Regional Medical Communication Centers funded by ASPR grants are operational 24/7, and were actively involved in the flood response. Interoperable communications systems were also invaluable. Hospitals used their Base Station Radios, and one hospital utilized their grant funded HAM radio as their sole source of communication. Mobile assets were also required for some hospitals to continue operations. Two hospitals shared an emergency generator, and one loaned an x-ray machine to another hospital in need.
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