Hancock Medical Center Prepares For Hurricane Season

We are just a month away from the start of the 2007 hurricane season. While there was not much activity last year, weather experts expect this year's season to be an active one.  That's why businesses like Hancock Medical Center are making sure they are prepared for the worst.

The halls at Hancock Medical Center look a lot different now than they did right after the storm.

"The total economic damage was about $26 million, $14 million of that was just in equipment, says Al Leftwich, Medical Administrator with Hancock Medical.

Hurricane Katrina destroyed most of the first floor, leaving patient rooms un-useable and a hospital staff left trying to salvage patient files.

Nearly two years after Katrina, there is still a lot of cleaning up to do.  However, Hancock Medical Administrator, Al Leftwich says that doesn't mean they aren't prepared for the worst.

"People had a good idea of what needed to be done in the adverse conditions so we had practiced it a lot. Some of the lessons we learned in terms of being self-sufficient for a longer period of time," says Leftwich.

For example, instead of a three day emergency plan, the hospital now has an increased supply for seven days.

"There is everything from fans to portable radios to medical supplies," says Hank Wheeler, the facility services director at the hospital.

Wheeler says following the storm administrators were able to fine tune their plan to make sure they are prepared for any type of emergency.

"We discovered in some cases we didn't have enough of some items or we needed some different items," says Wheeler.

Now after several meetings and a lot of planning, leaders at Hancock Medical says they are ready for whatever Mother Nature throws their way.

Hospital leaders say they have taken action for several other types of emergencies including chemical spills and the bird flu.

Some of the other changes at Hancock Medical include:

  • Acquiring two 800 megahertz radio phones from Hancock County's Emergency operations Center, giving the hospital direct communication with the EOC.
  • Adding a dedicated fuel supply to have on hand for employees and generators.
  • Putting into place a plan for acquring portlets prior to storms.
  • Devising a plan for moving vehicles out of strike zone.