Enhancements to Hospital Resiliency: Improving Emergency Planning for and Response to Hurricanes

D.B. Hess and L.A. Arendt

MCEER-09-0007 | 07/20/2009 | 78 pages

Keywords: Disaster resiliency. Hospitals. Emergency planning. Hurricane Gustav. Lifelines. Critical facilities. Hurricane Katrina. New Orleans, Louisiana. Extreme events. Disaster response.

Abstract: This report extends research previously conducted by the researchers about the maintenance of critical lifelines (water, power, hospitals) and critical infrastructure following extreme events. The authors examined hospital decision making in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and Hurricane Gustav in 2008. During on-site interviews in New Orleans shortly after Hurricane Katrina, hospital administrators were quick to identify changes they intended to make to emergency procedures, most driven by the severely negative outcomes of Hurricane Katrina. The current research, which reports on hospital experiences during Hurricane Gustav three years after Hurricane Katrina, represents the "post" phase of a naturally occurring "pre-post" experiment by documenting the changes to emergency planning - precipitated by hospitals’ experiences during Hurricane Katrina - and subsequently operationalized during Hurricane Gustav.