Disaster Preparedness

November 13, 2019 By: Bob Atlas, President & CEO

You may have watched in recent weeks as California residents fled their homes while flames from wildfires inched closer and hospitals faced the daunting task of swiftly evacuating all their patients.

Even as their own families and houses were threatened by the blaze, California hospital employees put the safety and security of their patients first. They had to move even the most critically ill to safer locations. Thankfully, they were ready from years of drills and tragically real experience with the increasing incidence of wildfires in the state.

Maryland fortunately escapes most headline-grabbing disasters, yet our hospitals absolutely must train for many scenarios. These efforts were bolstered post-9/11 by the Hospital Preparedness Program. Coordinated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, it aims to improve the capacity of the nation’s health care system to plan for and respond to large-scale emergencies and disasters.

As we begin a new Hospital Preparedness Program grant cycle, Maryland is focused on our communities. Working through health care coalitions, we’re helping them to prepare for a disaster that would result in an influx of pediatric patients—outside the day-to-day capabilities of most of our organizations.

In the subsequent years of the program, we’ll concentrate on burn patients, infectious disease, radiological emergencies, and chemical incidents.

We hope you never need to put into practice what we did in a drill, but it is among the most important work you do. Your careful planning and preparation ensure Marylanders will be cared for and supported through even the most inconceivable emergencies.

Bob Atlas
President & CEO