Savannah hospitals urge public to make own disaster plans - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Savannah hospitals urge public to make own disaster plans

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Monday afternoon, one hospital in Oklahoma didn't need anyone to tell them they were going to get hit.

They knew.

When it was all over, the building was destroyed, but no one, no patients or staff, were harmed. Are Savannah's medical centers ready for a potential disaster?

Both Memorial Health and St. Joseph's/Candler tell WTOC they are ready and they have plans in place, but in Oklahoma there was one thing that happened which we've seen happen here during hurricanes in the past.

Like during Hurricane Floyd here, hundreds of people fled to Moore Medical Center for shelter from the tornado in Oklahoma. Everyone was ok.

For St. Joseph's/Candler, the public taking shelter there during a tornado is not part of their disaster plan and is something they do not want to have happen.

"No, we don't. We would have an undo task of having to perform and it actually becomes a barrier to us performing our duties we need to perform for the public," Bob Staples, Safety, Security and Emergency Preparedness Manager for St. Joseph's/Candler, told WTOC.

Besides not having the food and water supplies to support hundreds of people from the public seeking shelter in their facility, Staples says the public needs to find it's own shelter in an emergency unless they have loved ones here. 

He says that made what he saw in Oklahoma when the Moore Medical Center was destroyed even more amazing.

"It was devastating. I think we all wonder how they all could survive through that and then regrouping and bringing back the normality there was prior," Staples said.

While Memorial Health spokesman Michael Notrica tells WTOC they do have plans in place in case of an influx of non-patients, it is their priority to take care of their patients. Staples says to take the burden off these hospitals in a disaster situation, all families need a plan of their own.

"Everybody should sit and develop a family plan, just as they do with hurricane situations or flooding, they should do with severe weather and tornadoes," he said.

As far as their disaster plan goes, St. Joseph's/Candler's plan starts with the suspension of non-essential services and a shift of focus on using more staff to support the incident. 
As the incident escalates, the plan continues to shift.

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