Keeping Watch on Irene–Your NCMS Stands Ready to Assist

As we have done with past severe weather-related events, the NCMS is prepared to implement its emergency/disaster plan in the event Hurricane Irene disrupts and damages physician practices or other health care delivery facilities in eastern North Carolina. We are partnering with the Old North State Medical Society (ONSMS) in order to enhance our communication wtih physicians across our state. We want to thank ONSMS President Edward Treadwell, MD, and Executive Director Thea Monet for making this possible.

On Thursday, Governor Perdue declared a state of emergency and President Obama approved federal aid to assist state and local responses to the storm. Forecasts at midday Friday indicated that the center of Irene was expected to make landfall in the vicinity of Cape Lookout around 9:00 am Saturday. Advisories showed Irene had weakened to a Category 2 hurricane, with maximum sustained winds of 105 miles per hour. Forecasters did not expect the storm to strengthen before making landfall. High wind warnings were issued for eastern North Carolina for Saturday, effective from 6:00 am to midnight. Heavy rains capable of producing flash floods were expected, beginning Friday afternoon and continuing through Saturday.

State emergency officials reported that storm shelters were opened in North Hampton, Wilson, Halifax, Nash, Wilson and Johnston Counties. Wake County was on stand-by to open an evacuation shelter, should the shelters in the eastern counties exceed 50 percent capacity. Mandatory evacuations were ordered in several coastal communities.

As many NCMS and ONSMS members will recall from Hurricane Floyd, high winds and floods can quickly displace physicians and their practices. Should you experience an extended storm-related disruption, or you become aware of a physician who has had such an experience, please contact Mike Edwards at the NCMS, medwards@ncmedsoc.org or 919-833-3836, ext. 112.

The NCMS emergency/disaster plan includes:

  •  Serving as a key contact point to assist physicians affected by the storm
    • Call: 800-722-1350 or 919-833-3836
  • Communication of important information to physicians in private practice and component medical societies in storm-affected areas
  • Coordinating and communicating requests for volunteers, equipment, donations and other needs
  • Serving as a liaison with the Division of Public Health, State Emergency Management and other agencies in communicating advisories, alerts, updates and other storm-related information important to physicians and component medical societies
  • Creating online resources including phone numbers and other information to help physicians during the post-storm recovery

NCMS is prepared to utilize a variety of communication tools to reach physicians, including our Doctor to Doctor blog, NCMS Webpage, Twitter, Facebook, email, fax and phone calls. As past experience has demonstrated, power outages can affect locally available communication, so we will try to provide information using several sources and encourage physicians to periodically check the NCMS website, http://www.ncmedsoc.org/, for updates and other information.

Here are some helpful links for storm-related events:

CDC Hurricane Information for Health Care Professionals: www.bt.cdc.gov/disasters/hurricanes/hcp.asp

American Red Cross Information on Disaster and Emergency Preparedness:

Getting Assistance: http://www.redcross.org/portal/site/en/menuitem.d8aaecf214c576bf971e4cfe43181aa0/?vgnextoid=6cde1a53f1c37110VgnVCM1000003481a10aRCRD&vgnextfmt=default

Preparedness Information:  http://www.redcross.org/portal/site/en/menuitem.d8aaecf214c576bf971e4cfe43181aa0/?vgnextoid=46de1a53f1c37110VgnVCM1000003481a10aRCRD&vgnextfmt=default

NC Division of Emergency Management: http://www.nccrimecontrol.org/Index2.cfm?a=000003,000010

NC Department of Public Health (DHHS): http://publichealth.nc.gov/

NC State Government Hurricane Information: http://www.ncgov.com/NCHurricane.aspx

Hurricane and Health Safety (NC DHHS): http://www.ncdhhs.gov/hurricanes/

Please feel free to share this information with your physician colleagues and staff and know that we are here to help you. 

Robert Seligson, EVP, CEO, NCMS, rseligson@ncmedsoc.org.

 
 

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