Hurricane Questions

  1. I am sure there is some good info on this site already for this but with Matthew about to hit the FL coast (that's me) and I'm scheduled to work I want to be prepared (now that I'm off work.)
    I am an incredibly new nurse (3ish weeks.) I work LTC/Short-term Rehab.
    What should I expect to bring with me in a bag in case I am there for a few days on end?
    I figured food, change of clothes, some toiletries like deodorant, my personal prescriptions. Anything I am missing?

    What do you recommend I do if the EHR goes down?
    By this I mean, I am not completely familiar with everything patients get/receive as of yet. If the EHR goes down and I don't have access to their eMAR do you recommend I refer to their chart or should I try to maybe jot down times of meds/tx for each pt in preparation of in case we are without electricity although I am assuming we have a backup and will have to confirm (many pts on O2.)
    And if that is the case, do you recommend I try to keep some form of paper documentation of when medications were given, etc?

    I am not sure what else to ask at the moment. I just want to be prepared as best in case I am there with my patients for a few days time! If you can offer any other suggestions that I haven't thought of please, do!

    As of right now, when I asked one of the unit managers our plan for the hurricane yesterday she stated she didn't know. I am not sure if they usually have a protocol or something since we do live in FL.

    Thank you all for your time!!! And if you or your loved ones are in the way of the hurricane I wish you safety and if you can and need to to please evacuate although that is a choice for every individual.
    Last edit by nurseburst on Oct 5, '16 : Reason: typos!
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  2. 13 Comments

  3. by   Rose_Queen
    When it comes to the procedures for your workplace, you will want to become familiar with the hurricane plan. In FL, hurricanes aren't uncommon, and thus the facility should have a preparation plan laid out, including what to do when there's no power (which, most likely, there's also generator backup). Just because your manager doesn't know where to find it doesn't mean it doesn't exist- or that it's limited to only hurricane planning. My facility is in a snow region- we have snow plans instead of hurricane plans. We also have a completely separate policy on downtime documentation, whether it is a planned outage for upgrading or an unplanned outage for whatever reason.
  4. by   brillohead
    If your facility DOESN'T have a plan for loss of power/EHR access, I would print out the MAR for each of your patients when you arrive. You likely have a way to print out the past several weeks' records (I see these printouts when LTCs send someone to the hospital). It lists drug, dosage, times, routes, and when last given.

    I would also make sure you have a way to access the meds during downtime (if using a Pyxis or if meds are in a keypad-locked room).

    Also make sure you have plenty of flashlights and batteries available -- a printed MAR does you no good if you can't see to read it!

    For your personal issues, I would make sure anything that can't be replaced is HIGH and WATERPROOF. Photo albums, heirlooms, etc., should be double-bagged in Ziplocks with identification inside, and placed as high as possible in the home. If the home is destroyed and the items float away anyway, having cell phone, email, and name inside with the items increases the chances of them being returned to you if found.

    I would also bring ALL of your medications (not just a few days' extras) and any legal documents (insurance, passport, birth/marriage certificates) with you (and also glasses/contacts if applicable). Double-bag everything, and don't leave them in your car. Better safe than sorry.

    Be safe!
  5. by   NicuGal
    Agree with making sure important
    Papers are with you. My friends also items in totes with tight lids to try to minimize damage. They all pack meds, snacks, your own flashlight and battery chargers for phone.

    Your hospital will have a disaster plan in place and will brief you. Stay safe!
  6. by   Ruby Vee
    Quote from nurseburst
    I am sure there is some good info on this site already for this but with Matthew about to hit the FL coast (that's me) and I'm scheduled to work I want to be prepared (now that I'm off work.)
    I am an incredibly new nurse (3ish weeks.) I work LTC/Short-term Rehab.
    What should I expect to bring with me in a bag in case I am there for a few days on end?
    I figured food, change of clothes, some toiletries like deodorant, my personal prescriptions. Anything I am missing?

    What do you recommend I do if the EHR goes down?
    By this I mean, I am not completely familiar with everything patients get/receive as of yet. If the EHR goes down and I don't have access to their eMAR do you recommend I refer to their chart or should I try to maybe jot down times of meds/tx for each pt in preparation of in case we are without electricity although I am assuming we have a backup and will have to confirm (many pts on O2.)
    And if that is the case, do you recommend I try to keep some form of paper documentation of when medications were given, etc?

    I am not sure what else to ask at the moment. I just want to be prepared as best in case I am there with my patients for a few days time! If you can offer any other suggestions that I haven't thought of please, do!

    As of right now, when I asked one of the unit managers our plan for the hurricane yesterday she stated she didn't know. I am not sure if they usually have a protocol or something since we do live in FL.

    Thank you all for your time!!! And if you or your loved ones are in the way of the hurricane I wish you safety and if you can and need to to please evacuate although that is a choice for every individual.
    Our hospital policy encourages us to bring food, clothing, TP, toiletries and prescriptions for 3-4 days. They also ask you to bring a cellphone charger. If you have some sort of portable charging device, I'd bring that, too.

    As far as your EMR, there should be downtime procedures in place. That probably includes printing the past few days of the record and some blank forms for paper charting.

    If your facility did not have a hurricane protocol in place, I'd be very surprised. Even when I worked in Boston, we had a hurricane policy!
  7. by   HouTx
    My organization has a number of facilities in hurricane country. The plan includes an (advance) triage of nursing & other staff to get a list of "stayers"... these are volunteers who are willing to stay on site & work through the event. Normally there are plenty of staff volunteers from all areas who don't have personal responsibilities that would prohibit staying at work for 24 hours or so. Senior execs are expected to be onsite - srsly. In our facilities, onsite staff are paid a premium for the 'extra' time they on duty.

    Medical staff has its own plan. They make sure that there are enough onsite docs including at least one rep from each service. Patients are discharged if possible. Very ill patients may be transferred if it can be safely accomplished. Remaining patients may be consolidated into fewer areas to facilitate staffing, surveillance & supply distribution.

    The facility plan includes management of all the emergency utility services. Diesel-powered generators are sufficient to handle emergency equipment - have to be plugged into the red receptacles when normal power is disrupted. Large water containers are distributed to all areas - for toilet flushing, cleaning, etc. Tons of hand sanitizer. Crates of those giant wet wipe thingies for patient 'baths', etc. Meals are delivered (free) to all on site staff for the duration. Sleep rooms are provided so that staff can get some down time if needed.

    During the actual storm, the basic precautions may include things like: closing all blinds & moving beds away from windows; plug all essential equipment into a red plug (see above), help move water containers into areas around each bathroom; distribute flashlights & glow sticks; etc.

    Bottom line? Based on my own experiences, it turns out very well. Everyone works together to do what needs to be done. I recall helping our CFO distribute supplies & roll the 20 gallon water containers around. You'll have a great story afterward.
  8. by   CrunchRN
    Bring your own TP? Sheesh you would think they could provide that.
  9. by   WKShadowRN
    I'm required to bring my own linens and towels tonight when I stay over to report for my shift tomorrow. My home is in zone C (not being evacuated yet) and my facility is in A (evacuated). If my switch doesn't happen, I go in tonight. I considered taking my own TP because I figure with so many of us staying, it might be a limited commodity. I' already packed. They're rooming us at least 3 to a room on cots. I bought a sleeping bag.
  10. by   Ruby Vee
    Quote from CrunchRN
    Bring your own TP? Sheesh you would think they could provide that.
    They will -- at first. If you require toilet paper for your bathroom activities and want to be sure of having some, you will bring your own. And don't share.
  11. by   WKShadowRN
    Quote from Ruby Vee
    They will -- at first. If you require toilet paper for your bathroom activities and want to be sure of having some, you will bring your own. And don't share.
    This is my TP. There are many like it but this one is Mine.
  12. by   sevensonnets
    Definitely bring plenty of clean undies, extra scrubs, an extra pair of shoes, a pillow, and snacks. Bring them into the building with you ( you don't want to go out in a hurricane to get stuff out of the car). Pack your lunch bag with extra food and snacks. We're outside the hurricane zone on this one, but with Katrina we got patients from New Orleans hospitals. You may have to stay a while so be prepared.
  13. by   nurseburst
    Sorry for the late reply but I was reading all of ya'lls comments... I greatly appreciate them and I worked the whole day the hurricane came through. We did just fine. Our lights flickered several times and we had to move some patients from their rooms due to leaking roofs but aside from that all was good.
    On the ride home late that night to come back the next AM, ALL lights were out... but I made it home okay and only encountered a huge tree in the middle of the road on my way back the next AM (that was thankfully blocked off and gave us warning to move over!)

    I took plenty of food/drinks, etc but I didn't take TP! Although that is a great idea now that I think of it... lol I did forget to bring a pillow but I was afraid I'd get it soaked making it into the door.

    I hope everyone who got hit is DOING WELL!!!! A neighbor city got completely flooded. =(
  14. by   sallyrnrrt
    You are need
    Paper ot e,are

    Do what you c
    An as s nurse....you ewull m spree iatet

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