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How Orlando Health Prepares for Hurricanes

With Hurricane Ian looking like it might impact Florida, Orlando Health is monitoring the storm closely.

Orlando Health has a hurricane management plan and severe weather plan from which we work. Here’s what you should know about how we prepare for hurricanes.

Our Emergency Preparedness Plan

As soon as we learn of any inclement weather conditions, we begin to monitor the storm. We join conference calls with the National Weather Service and relay that information to our hospital representatives to make sure they are updated. These calls are especially important if the tracks swing toward us.

We place rush orders for additional supplies at each of our facilities to sustain us throughout the hurricane, so we can continue to deliver quality care to patients currently in our facilities, as well as any that may come in during the storm. Orlando Health also creates a staffing plan for each site, as doctors, nurses and other medical staff may have to work long hours.

Each site also will have at least three to seven days of food inventory so that there’s enough food for patients, staff and visitors. Our hospital engineering departments work through a checklist to secure our buildings, and we alert our facilities and construction staff that they need to prepare. Some of the precautions they take include either strapping down or removing loose items before the storm, bringing down any elevated cranes and possibly sandbagging the roofs for added safety.

How You Can Prepare

We are aware that many area residents worry about the accessibility of hospitals and other medical facilities during major storms. We strive for all our facilities to remain open. If Hurricane Ian grows in strength and its path shifts to Central Florida, we may need to close certain facilities.

It’s always important to prepare for a tropical storm or hurricane, just as many local businesses and hospitals do.

Here are some suggestions to prepare:

  • Establish a family emergency plan with the names of an evacuation, neighborhood or regional meeting place where you’ll gather in the event of a major storm. Also include important medical information, the name of your doctors and their contact information.
  • Have non-perishable food supplies in the event of a prolonged power outage. This should include bottled water, juice, bread, peanut butter, jelly, canned foods, pet foods and a manual can opener. Also, stock up on emergency supplies such as a first aid kit, flashlights, batteries, a radio, solar charger, extra blankets, rain gear.
  • Ensure you have ample medications. If you don’t already have enough medications, pick up a renewal now. This includes over-the-counter medications, and any vitamins or supplements you may be taking. You don’t want to run out during the storm, because there is no guarantee of what pharmacy will be open.
  • Fill up your vehicles’ gas tanks.
  • Prepare your home for the storm. Remove any loose outdoor items and move them to a secure location, trim dead branches from trees, move furniture away from the windows and board your windows, if necessary.
  • Have cash on hand. ATMs and gas pumps will not work if there’s a major power outage.

Even though the storm could shift course or lose intensity, it’s always smart to be prepared.

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