At the time, I was the manager of emergency preparedness for Orlando Health. My job was to assist the organization by leading the Emergency Management program, which includes the strategic direction and oversight of preparing, responding, recovering and mitigating emergency situations that may or have occurred in our community or at our facilities. You cannot stop or mitigate all disasters or emergencies from occurring, but you can try to plan, educate and exercise for the impact of them. This is a very challenging role for anyone who fulfills it within any organization, but especially for a healthcare system. We try to plan and train for all hazards, which could include man-made, natural, intentional and health-related. If you have watched the news recently, you know there is a rapidly increasingly amount of threats and hazards we may be faced with. It takes repeated, persistent and dedicated efforts to build a better-prepared organization. This is not a one-time occurrence nor can it be achieved within just one day, month or year. It must be accomplished over time -- one step by one step, just like building blocks. The continual efforts we undertake at Orlando Health were proven valuable during the June 12, 2016, Pulse tragedy. Numerous people told me in person, in text messages and emails that our efforts helped save lives in the incident. I am an administrator not a clinician, so this was quite humbling to hear. It also makes me want to continue enhancing our efforts to ensure we are better prepared for the next disaster.
Although the Corporate Command Center, Orlando Health’s overall system Emergency Operations Center, was not activated during our Pulse response, I still fulfilled the Liaison Officer (A shift) role. In this capacity, I ensured the hospitals were responding appropriately to the incident at hand. This is where my certifications, training and experience come into play and practice during an incident.