Note - as part of its role in facilitating the exchange of information between health care partners, WHA is running a series of articles highlighting emergency planning resources available for hospitals and health care partners.
With the warmer weather finally arriving in Wisconsin, the potential for severe weather events arrives along with it. It's important for hospitals and their local health care partners to stay up to date on the latest emergency planning resources to ensure they are well prepared for anything mother nature throws at us.
Hospitals can find a collection of helpful resources at asprtracie.hhs.gov specifically tailored to natural disasters such as tornadoes that impact Wisconsin. According to the National Weather Service, Wisconsin averages 23 tornadoes per year and had as many as 62 tornadoes in 2005.
While mass casualty events stemming from tornadoes are rare in Wisconsin, we have seen a number of other states experience such events in recent years, and Wisconsin has experienced several deadly tornadoes in its history, such as a tornado that killed 9 and injured 200 in Barneveld in 1984 as well as one that killed 117 and injured 125 near New Richmond in 1899.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) brought together Technical Resources, Assistance Center and Information Exchange (TRACIE) to provide information and technical assistant to regional ASPR staff, health care coalitions, and others working in disaster and health emergency preparedness. ASPR TRACIE has a collection of resources that includes lessons learned for hospitals responding to tornado and other severe storm-related mass casualty events. The resource page also includes resources for other natural disasters such as extreme heat, extreme cold, wildfires and floods. It even includes links to plans, tools, templates and federal agencies involved with health care emergency planning and response.