The 2017 Coastal Storm season is upon us. In 2012, we were reminded that the Northeast is not immune to the devastation of coastal storms. The past five years have seen significant changes to Coastal Storm preparedness and an increase in collaborative emergency management practices. Hence, GNYHA is pleased to share the NYC Coastal Storm Operations Overview. This document, specifically for health care facilities, provides an overview of potential citywide operations during a coastal storm, including planning assumptions and timelines. It was developed via a collaborative effort between GNYHA, New York City and New York State Departments of Health, NYC Emergency Management, the Fire Department of the City of New York, and NYC Health + Hospitals. Hospitals are encouraged to review the overview document and make adjustments to their own planning as warranted. Though this document focuses on New York City health care facilities, portions may be pertinent to facilities outside New York City’s five boroughs.
To prepare for the 2017 North Atlantic Coastal Storm Season, which officially begins August 1, GNYHA recommends that all health care facilities do the following:
- Review and update (as needed) severe weather plans, plans for patient evacuation, and staffing plans.
- Complete the New York State Department of Health’s (DOH) Critical Asset Survey (CAS) and Facility Profile Application (FPA). The CAS includes questions on facility infrastructure data, and the FPA queries facilities on emergency power systems, send-receive relationships, and other issues relevant to coastal storms. Hospitals are urged to complete both surveys as soon as possible. DOH also plans to share a Facility Guidance Document with all hospitals in the coming weeks.
- Review the Patient Evacuation Toolkit that GNYHA released earlier this year. The toolkit is designed to assist facilities with large-scale patient evacuation. It provides links to nine separate resources to help hospitals during three critical phases of patient evacuation: pre-evacuation bed-matching, the transport process, and post-transfer medical record availability. All resources in the toolkit were developed by the GNYHA/NYC DOHMH Patient Movement Workgroup, which met from February 2015 to December 2016. GNYHA held an implementation webinar on June 22 to familiarize hospitals with the tools.
- Update your GNYHA Sit Stat Profile Survey. During a coastal storm, GNYHA will use a Sit Stat survey to collect information from members on impacts and needs. The coastal storm sections of the Sit Stat Response Survey now pull information directly from your Sit Stat Profile Survey, which reduces the burden on those completing the survey. Please see the Sit Stat User Guide for instructions on using Sit Stat.
If a coastal storm is expected in the New York region, GNYHA will send update e-mails to all members with forecast information, government agency planning actions, and contact information for GNYHA staff. GNYHA will also update and maintain its Weather-Related Events page.