SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - We’re well into hurricane season and while we have yet to see a storm headed in our direction, leaders are preparing for the worst.
Planning for a hurricane under a pandemic is no small feat especially for a hospital. Leaders at Memorial Health say it’s something they are working towards daily.
“Every morning that I get up the first thing that I do is to look to see what is out there in the ocean to see if anything is headed out way,” said Jimmy Gordon, Memorial Health Safety Officer & Emergency Preparedness Coordinator.
Jimmy Gordon has been leading the charge at Memorial Health for years. He spends countless hours preparing them for emergencies. This year is no different, but he's planning with COVID-19 precautions in place too.
“It’s another piece of the puzzle, but the basic mission is still here.”
Memorial leaders say they have had to create separate plans for their COVID positive patients, but the process is still the same. They work alongside local and state officials to create a timeline, protocol, and best practices.
This of course isn’t their first hurricane season, they say planning begins about 120 hours out from the storm to determine their response. For those who cannot evacuate they go to Memorial’s Heart and Vascular Institute which can withstand a Category 4 storm.
If evacuation is needed, they work with other HCA hospitals.
"Each one of the patients is evaluated separately as far as their needs, their health needs and which facility may be able to take them so there is a long line of conversation before we just decide to move anywhere."
Gordon says they not only work with patients, but also staff. They categorize them into teams to determine who works when and where. Leaders say their biggest task is to continually monitor the situation and be in constant communication as things develop.
"The biggest thing is just to extend our mitigation and just make sure that we're working well with the local emergency managers here so that we can get all that information that they are able to provide and with out HCA partners."
Ultimately, Memorial leaders say they are prepared and ready to respond if and when a storm comes our way.