Henry Mayo Hospital’s Emergency Management Department is ready to handle anything from a major earthquake to a terrorist attack.
When disaster strikes the Santa Clarita Valley, Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital will be ready with portable triage centers and a cache of medical supplies and medicine on reserve.
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Henry Mayo’s Emergency Management Department, one of 13 disaster resource centers in Los Angeles County, ensures that the hospital is able to handle an influx of patients in the event of a disaster like an earthquake, brush fire or terrorist attack.
“Our emergency management program prepares our facilities so that we can respond quickly and effectively in an emergency or any kind of disruption that we have in our services,” said Terry Stone, safety officer and emergency preparedness manager at Henry Mayo.
As part of a larger network, funded by the county’s Emergency Medical Services Agency, Henry Mayo is able to coordinate large scale disasters with other area hospitals.
The satellite software ReadyNet used by the EMSA determines the capabilities and available beds at all local hospitals to determine where to send disaster victims, “so that not one hospital gets overwhelmed,” Stone said.
“We’re one of the few counties in the United States that has such a well organized emergency medical services system,” she said.
“The very first step in emergency management is identifying what your hazards are,” Stone said.
City staff and hospital staff each independently created a list of the most important hazards to prepare for. Number one on both lists was an earthquake.
The SCV has not had a major earthquake since the Northridge Earthquake in 1994.
Stone did not work for Henry Mayo at the time, but she said that the hospital kept operations going while running on generator power and trucking water into town, because water pipes had broken.
“That’s one of the reasons it’s so important for us to be resilient and be able to sustain operations because in major disasters such as the ‘94 earthquake, we were cut off because the bridge went down,” she said.
Between 1,000 and 1,500 (patients) came into the emergency room that week, Stone said.
More recently, Henry Mayo and the Disaster Coalition have created a portal on the Coalition’s website for faith-based organizations.
Many of them have resources that could be utilized in an earthquake or similar emergency, such as large kitchens and child care.
Emergency Management is also prepared to handle other mass casualty incidents such as bombing, major traffic collision or a chemical terrorist attack.
Henry Mayo has a decontamination team trained to handle victims of terrorism before they receive treatment.
In the case of a large-scale brush fire, the safety of patients is the hospital’s biggest concern, Stone said, because there are not usually a high influx of casualties.
They are prepared to shelter in place or evacuate if the smoke comes too close.
During previous large fires, Henry Mayo has received patients from other hospitals, but has never had to evacuate, Stone said.
A large part of the Emergency Management Department’s presence in the community, besides first response in a disaster, is education and outreach.
Often they speak with groups at the SCV Senior Center or with local Cub Scout troops, Stone said, and hey will be at KHTS AM-1220’s Emergency Expo on Saturday, March 29.
Related Information: 2014 Emergency Expo
And the big picture, for Henry Mayo as a whole and for the Emergency Management Department is to “improve the health of our community through compassion and excellence in health care services, including time of disasters,” Stone said.
Stay tuned for more information about how residents can prepare themselves and their homes for a disaster, as the Emergency Expo approaches.
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Source: Santa Clarita News