Thursday, May 30, 2013

Preparing for Hurricane Season

by Meghan McPherson
M.P.P., CEM, Coordinator, Center for Health Innovation,
Program Manager, Graduate Programs in Emergency Management

This week is National Hurricane Preparedness Week in preparation for hurricane season officially beginning June 1. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has predicted an above average Atlantic Hurricane season for 2013.  NOAA indicated in its recent hurricane forecast a “70 percent likelihood of 13 to 20 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which 7 to 11 could becomehurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including 3 to 6 major hurricanes (Category 3, 4 or 5; winds of 111 mph or higher).  These ranges are well above the seasonal average of 12 named storms, 6 hurricanes and 3 major hurricanes.”  

The greater New York area is still in the beginning of what is an unprecedented and massive recovery from Superstorm Sandy.  Critical Infrastructure, home owners, hospitals, and community services are still struggling to come back.  That fact alone makes the area more vulnerable as hurricane season begins.  It is incredibly important to heed warnings when they are given by meteorologists and public officials to evacuate.  We have now learned a lesson all too familiar to people of the Gulf Coast. Watch the weather and when you are told to evacuate, do so.  By not evacuating, you put yourself, as well as first responders, in danger.

The federal government has an extremely user friendly site,, that gives you tips for any type of hazard, how to secure your property, and how to make a plan for your family and loved ones.  While planning for an emergency, remember that medical preparedness is also key to successfully surviving a hurricane.  Make sure you know what medications you take and their dosages, you have the phone numbers for your doctors, and that you have done the same for elderly members of your family.

By taking simple precautionary steps to prepare your family for hurricanes, you can increase your resiliency in the face of disaster.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Adelphi Connection to the Granbury, TX Tornado

by Center for Health Innovation staff 

A series of tornadoes in Texas has initially reported at least six people dead, and 37 injured on Thursday, May 16, 2013. The city of Granbury, 35 miles southwest of Fort Worth, appears to have been struck the worst.

The tornado created a mass trauma event, unlike any other ever seen in the area. Dr. Kyle McCombs an emergency room physical and chief of staff at Lake Granbury Medical Center is reported in the The New York Times as saying,  “For a hospital of our size, we’ve never seen a mass trauma event like this… we had serious, major trauma, and a lot of it.”

Supporting the continuum of health care in emergency situations, like a tornado, was the focus of a recent Adelphi University symposium.  On the heels of Hurricane Sandy, the Adelphi Center for Health Innovation invited a panel of health care experts to share their expertise with attendees. The experts included featured speaker Dr. D. Sean Smith of Joplin, Missouri who like his Texas counter-part, Dr. McCombs, runs an emergency medical facility, Mercy Clinic, that was directly affected by a tornado.

At the Adelphi University program, Dr. Smith spoke of how on May 22, 2011, a tornado caused unprecedented destruction in Joplin, including this country’s first direct hit on an acute care hospital. Smith assisted with the initial Incident Command Functions for St. John’s Regional Medical Center.

In the fall 2012 semester, the Center for Health Innovation (CHI) had released a poll on emergency preparedness. The findings released showed that most Americans were not prepared for a catastrophic event. More than 1,000 adults over the age of 18 were surveyed in the university-sponsored poll with highlights that included: 44 percent don’t have first-aid kits; 48 percent lack emergency supplies; and 53 percent do not have a minimum three-day supply of nonperishable food and water at home. Ironically, soon after the poll was released, the region where CHI and Adelphi University is was critically affected by superstorm Sandy.

Another poll focused on mental health in times of disaster, asking whether professionals in that field were prepared to manage clients in such situations. The Mental Health and Disaster Preparedness Poll found that most mental health professionals felt their communities were only somewhat prepared for a disruptive event.

Adelphi University’s the Center for Health Innovation offers over 55 health-related academic programs across 7 schools and colleges. All contributing to an improved healthcare landscape. The university offers Emergency Management master’s degree and certificate programs online.