October 16, 2023
As difficult as it to write this, the reality is almost upon us. It’s time to replace our flip flops and t-shirts with snow boots and knit caps. The seasonal change will likely unfold as it does every year—the trees will lose their leaves, the temperatures will dip, and the cold rain and snow will arrive upon us.
We hope winter will be mild and routine, but we all know that “hope” isn’t the best plan in emergency management. That’s why now is a good time to prepare our staff and facilities for the worst mother nature can throw at us.
Last winter, a massive blizzard forced Buffalo General Medical Center to shelter in place for over 55 hours. Staff couldn’t leave the facility and relief couldn’t arrive, which meant many had to work hours on end. Historic winter storms are not limited to the Great Lakes region, and facilities should not diminish or disregard the possibility of being impacted.
Just over 25 years ago, The Blizzard of ’96 hammered many states on the East Coast. From Rhode Island, down to Virgina, and over to Cincinnati, massive amounts of snow halted traffic and brought daily life to a standstill. Many cities and emergency services were paralyzed. The snow totals throughout the region were staggering. Philadelphia saw 30 inches of snow. Pennsylvania’s state capital was blanketed with 22 inches. This storm was not a one-off. The record of historical events shows vulnerabilities across many states, and facilities up and down much of the East Coast need to consider the potential for storms and prepare for impacts.
Here are important considerations for your team if you need to shelter in place during a storm:
Additional facility and infrastructure considerations you should have on your radar ahead of the storm:
If you want to know about getting ready for winter storms, contact me or HAP’s emergency management team.
Tags: Public Health | Emergency Preparedness
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