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Smiles, Giggles, Tears at Harrison’s Emergency Preparedness BB Meeting

Greetings:  What I thought would be an easy chat about the need for patients to prepare for a natural disaster has turned out quite the opposite and it won’t be done in one blog post.  This is part One of Two.

Kitsap County got lucky.  Pamela O’Flynn, RRT, MBA Respiratory Care Department Director, Harrison Medical Center has firsthand experience what happens when we’re not prepared for a disaster.  She is a whirlwind force fighting to get all of us prepared as best we can – NOW.

Harrison Respiratory Center’s Emergency Preparedness meeting on Wednesday, 19 January was the most intense learning experience I’ve had in years.  We alternated tears, laughter, even giggles when Pam tried to look disheveled as she shuffled along the wall demonstrating how the exhausted medical staff moved and worked during the Katrina natural disaster and the weeks and months following the good, bad and ugly aftermath of a storm and disaster no one was prepared for as Pam, along with others, lost her home 40 miles inland from the hurricane storm surge.

The good was the bonding of the medical staff and all who worked for the common cause of helping others without supplies to do it.

We sat shocked, saddened and teary as Pam described why Emergency Preparedness was vital for our survival here and briefly described how, during the horrific Katrina disaster they were not prepared for the scope of the disaster.  Pam described how oxygen patients came to the hospital asking for oxygen and she was forced to turn them away knowing their fate without it.  The hospital ran out of what they had…no one was prepared…they didn’t know anything could turn out so badly.  They learned from it and that experience will help us here, now.

We got firsthand glimpses of a hospital and medical providers under siege and unimaginable duress.

On the flip side we got glimpses of powerful bonds forged out of desperate need and innovative creative means to help patients.

Laura Jull, CEM, CHSP Emergency Preparedness Coordinator at Harrison Medical Center was full of vital information and came prepared with essential handouts, including al  12-Month Preparedness Calendar Courtesy of Washington State Emergency Management Division http://www.emd.wa.gov/ -

Contact respiratorycare@harrisonmedical.org for the packets and specific information.

For starters sign up for emergency alerts and newsletter:

https://www.piersystem.com/go/site/1082/

Kitsap County Department of Emergency Management

KCDEM’s Alert and Warning Sign-Up Page

Following are a few photos.

Hopefully my desktop will work smoothly from here on out – thanks to my husband, the Old Guy.  He spent the past two days trying to get it to work.

More later, including the photos I couldn’t get in…  Sharon O’Hara

One thought on “Smiles, Giggles, Tears at Harrison’s Emergency Preparedness BB Meeting

  1. Thank you, Sharon, for the kind words! It was wonderful talking with the group, even if difficult. If sharing the hardships and sadness that we went through can prevent even a portion of the issues with preparedness, I will share the story every month!

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