Hurricane Preparedness at MD Anderson

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hurricane2.jpgIn September 2008, Hurricane Ike hit the coast of Galveston and through the medical center, with winds up to 110 mph. MD Anderson was closed for business from Thursday to Sunday and housed 1,842 employees and around 500 patients.

Hurricane season is from June 1 to Nov. 30. And, although Texas needs the rain, hurricane damage, on average, accounts for $5.1 billion and 20 deaths per year. (NOAA)

Who remains at MD Anderson during a hurricane?
When a hurricane is approaching the Texas Gulf Coast, MD Anderson staff is busy ensuring that our patients, visitors and employees are as safe as possible.

Emergencies at MD Anderson are prioritized based on the severity of an event and its effect on the health and safety of the people throughout our institution. If a hurricane makes landfall in the Houston/Galveston area, we call in our hurricane ride-out team members to maintain operations of the institution.

The ride-out team is a group of MD Anderson employees who remain on campus during the storm to provide essential patient care. These vital roles include physicians, nurses, pharmacists and dining services personnel to prepare meals.

What if you were supposed to have surgery?
We may be working with limited staff and resources during a severe storm. Therefore, we may have to cancel and reschedule patients' surgeries. If we need to cancel your surgery and you haven't completed your pre-surgery appointment at the Anesthesia Assessment Center, a staff member from your care center will contact you.

If you have already completed your pre-surgery appointment, call 713-563-8974 for an update about your surgery. A patient services coordinator at the Surgery Check-In office will help you. They will reschedule your surgery after MD Anderson has returned to normal operations, usually within three business days after a severe weather event.

Make a plan, be prepared
Remember, anyone living in or visiting a coastal area during hurricane season should make a plan and be prepared.

Here are some things to consider when planning for a hurricane: The 5 B's.

  • Be informed: as much as possible, stay up-to-date on information. Download a hurricane tracker or watch the local news for regular tracking updates.
  • Be familiar: know your evacuation zones and hurricane evacuation contraflow routes, just in case you may need to leave your home.
  • Be resourceful: make a hurricane kit that includes water, non-perishable food, batteries, passport and list of prescription medicines, just to name a few.
  • Be protective: secure your home by boarding windows and trimming large tree branches
  • Be current: update your list of contacts and establish a family phone tree with a family member or friend in an unaffected area, as well as a work phone tree to get in contact with your colleagues and supervisor.

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