An emergency can happen at any moment, and every community, in any country of the world, must be ready to respond. A pandemic, natural disaster, or chemical or radiological release often strikes without warning and allows for minimal last minute preparation. When disasters occur, there is often a mismatch between resources and needs, magnifying the chaos, risks and losses. The costs—both economic and human—can be dear.

Natural Disasters are on the Rise

If you feel like the weather is getting more destructive, it’s not just your imagination. Last year’s hurricane season was the costliest in U.S. history. Americans witnessed more than $200 billion worth of damage from the start of June until the end of November.1

When Disaster Strikes

Healthcare facilities and their staff play an essential role in disaster response efforts. It is therefore vital to address emergency preparedness for patient care & safety before the impending disaster. One only has to look at the ongoing crisis in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria to see the devastating result of not being prepared.2 And now, the situation in the Bahamas, and eastern USA due to Hurricane Dorian, is causing disruption in patient care and necessary evacuations.

If You Fail to Plan, Disaster Could Strike Twice

Hospitals typically have general emergency management plans in place to meet gas supply needs with backup generators for most priority functions. A program or medical equipment that specifically prepares staff for a large-scale incident such as a hurricane may be lacking. To adequately provide care and ensure patient and staff safety during a public health emergency or natural disaster, the planning process for each level of care should address these four areas:

  • Risk Assessment – An all-hazard approach should be considered which involves activities aimed at reducing the vulnerability of high-risk patient groups and minimizing the effects of the disaster. Do you have the medical support equipment you will need for your department?
  • Training – Everyone needs to be adequately trained. Medical equipment which may be used less often should be easily comparable to every day needs.
  • Command and Coordination – Emergency situations are typically chaotic and confusing, but that doesn’t mean the response should match. Individual roles and responsibilities during the disaster should be clearly defined for the disaster response effort.
  • Evacuation – When conditions are severe, and force evacuation of the facility’s patients and staff, the safety of patients and the possibility of continuing their care rely entirely on a facility’s preparedness.

Airon Preparedness and Response

Just as hospitals need to foresee the types of incidents / disasters that are likely to occur, Airon participates in product design and review to support disaster preparedness, provide patient safety with ventilatory support, and anticipate customer needs for adequate coverage.

Providing Whatever is Needed

Each year during hurricane season, Airon has worked side-by-side with hospitals to manage the unforeseen needs in neonatal ventilatory support and/or adult and pediatric patient evacuation response. As delivery options deteriorate in the chaos of a disaster, Airon personnel have hand-carried ventilators to area hospitals and driven long-distances to meet a hospital courier racing against time.

Airon supports the preparation for all hazards; mass casualty, natural disaster and pandemic infections.

We would all agree that ventilator selection should consider the:

  • Patient – preparing for RDS, short-term ventilation & transport
  • Clinician – matching skills with patient monitoring
  • Resources – controlling oxygen and eliminating any electrical impact

PNeuton ventilators answer the call and are Disaster Ready.

References

1. 2017 Hurricane Season Was the Most Expensive in U.S. History
2. Puerto Rico’s hospitals continue to struggle without power and fuel; thousands of dialysis patients in dire need of care