How hospitals protect patients during severe weather

By Justin Logan - bio | email feedback

PARAGOULD, AR (KAIT) - When severe weather approaches Arkansas Methodist Medical Center (AMMC) their staff is ready.

Brent Cox, Director of Emergency Management and Security at the hospital said, "Anytime we start seeing the severe weather coming our way we station one person just on the weather to start watching it for us."

He said they go through drills with the staff to be prepared for when the weather takes a turn for the worse.

Cox said, "One of the first things we do as a tornado watch is issued, we go ahead and start shutting the blinds and preparing our charts and our patients that they can be moved very quickly."

Cox said once a tornado warning is issued they bring the patients out of the rooms and into the hall-way for safety.

"We make sure everything that they need is with them. We station nurses with the patients," said Cox.

They also have other people in the hospital that have to get to shelter.

Cox said, "We then usually have an influx of visitors coming in. So we'll move all of those visitors to the basement or into an internal waiting room inside the facility."

Cox said all of the hospitals in northeast Arkansas work together. So, if a tornado were to hit AMMC they would receive help immediately.

"If another facility is impacted or if we are impacted we're going to immediately respond to that facility and help them out. We're going to send all of our resources to them and they are going to send their resources to us to make sure we have what we need," said Cox.

The doctors and nurses at AMMC have emergency equipment available to help treat their patients outside the hospital.

"We have a mobile medical unit that we can move and set that up to triage and treat patients outside the healthcare facility," said Cox.

Emergency transportation will also be available.

"We have an ambulance base here in our facility and also have one in Corning and Rector. They will bring all their units to us to help transport," said Cox.

In the event of a tornado, getting immediate care to the patients is of most concern.

Cox said, "We can move our patients, treat our patients and care for them to the best of our abilities and we're going to take care of your family in times of disaster and need."

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