January 16, 2009 | | Comments 0
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Early thoughts from NYC hospitals about the Hudson River plane crash

Hi everyone, it’s Scott Wallask logging in today. I just chatted with a couple of representatives of New York City hospitals about the plane that crashed into the Hudson River on Thursday afternoon and their facilities’ response to the incident.

Two important early points came up in our conversations:

  • Even though the best possible outcome occurred — no one died in the crash — hospital emergency planners didn’t know that fact at first, so they ramped up their emergence response activations. The period between initially hearing about a disaster and actually receiving your first victims is the time to have the highest level of emergency readiness, because you just don’t know for sure early on what is happening.
  • A pair of sister hospitals in NYC was in communication about supplies, as one of the facilities was expecting potential casualties. With the crash occurring in the late afternoon at the onset of rush hour, there was no guarantee vendors could get extra supplies to the hospital in question. So the sister hospital prepared to share its own resources if necessary and was in contact with their colleagues.

Watch for further updates in the blog as we get them, and also expect more detailed coverage in an upcoming issue of Briefings on Hospital Safety. On the surface, yesterday’s crash seems like a wonderful example of the community working together during an emergency response, a theme we’ll explore during our 3rd Annual Hospital Safety Center Symposium on May 14-15.

If anyone reading this was involved in the New York response, please let us know your thoughts by posting a comment.

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Scott Wallask About the Author: Scott Wallask is senior managing editor for HCPro's Hospital Safety Center (www.hospitalsafetycenter.com) and the award-winning newsletters, Briefings on Hospital Safety and Healthcare Life Safety Compliance. He has written about healthcare for HCPro since 1998, with a focus on occupational and building safety, emergency management, fire protection, and infection control. Prior to joining HCPro, he worked as a reporter for several newspapers in eastern Massachusetts. He holds a BA in print journalism, magna cum laude, from Northeastern University in Boston. Contact Scott at swallask@hcpro.com.

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