Remember, it only Takes One: Prepare for the 2019 Hurricane Season
In 1992, hurricane scientists forecasted a mild hurricane season for Florida. If accurate, their prediction would continue the state’s run of 25 consecutive years without a major hurricane. That year, Florida residents and visitors saw relatively few storms and only one hurricane. Just one.
Unfortunately, Andrew was that hurricane.
Lesson learned? Despite forecasts for a normal hurricane season this year, it only takes one. That’s why each year, in preparation for hurricane season, Lee Health creates two teams of essential employees. Team A: Lee Health employees who work in the hospitals before and during a storm; Team B: Lee Health employees who work immediately after the “all-clear” notification after the storm.
“Team A and B members are doctors, nurses, technologists, food and environmental services employees, and others who help provide the 24-hour care our community needs,” explains Lee Health CEO Larry Antonucci, M.D., MBA. “While we hope to have another quiet hurricane season, we cannot predict what this year’s season will bring, so we must be prepared to care for our community before, during and after any storm.”
Dr. Antonucci advises that everyone should take steps to prepare, especially if you or a loved one has health conditions or medical needs.
Here are some important things to consider as we approach the hurricane season:
- Check your first aid kit and restock if necessary; include sunscreen and insect repellent.
- Be sure you have refills of your prescriptions. Florida law allows pharmacies to fill prescriptions in advance during hurricane warnings.
- Think ahead about preserving refrigerated drugs, like insulin, in case the power goes out. In an emergency, you can reach out to the Red Cross or poison control for assistance in determining the safety of a drug.
- Know the details of your medical equipment, including the size, manufacturer, and company and account numbers.
- Stock up on batteries, especially if you require batteries that need to be special ordered.
- Consider medical supplies, including catheters and dressings, as well as dietary restrictions, and be sure you have appropriate supplies and options available.
- Build or restock your disaster supplies kit, including food, water, flashlights, batteries, chargers, cash and first aid supplies.
- Scan important documents, such as medication logs, insurance papers, etc., and store them on a flash drive in a safety deposit box. Lee Health uses Epic, so our patients have one seamless, electronic health record across the system.
- Here are a couple of online resources that may help in your preparations: www.cityftmyers.com/DocumentCenter/View/8596/Community-Emergency-Preparedness-Guide and www.winknews.com/hurricane-guide.
Determining whether you or your loved ones need access to a special needs shelter is one of the most important things to do to prepare for hurricane season. Lee Health hospitals and facilities are not hurricane shelters. If you or your loved one requires assistance that exceeds services provided at a general population shelter, you must preregister with Lee County Emergency Management. Visit www.leegov.com/publicsafety/emergencymanagement for more information on special needs shelter, as well as the locations of public shelters.
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