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Flooding preparedness needs to include infection prevention and control strategies
Date:1/9/2013

mold growth in impacted area, including the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system
  • Restoration of air flow
  • Post-flood surveillance of water and air samples and for outbreaks of flood-related infectious diseases

    Lessons learned following Hurricane Ike in Galveston, Texas in 2008 provide a foundation for future design, execution, and analysis of black-water flood preparedness. Following the storm many generators and building points of entry for utilities at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston were flooded; electrical power, telephone services, fire alarm systems, information systems, HVAC systems, and most elevators were nonfunctional. The water systems were closed off before the hurricane and remained off for 5-6 days; the linear accelerators in the radiation oncology department were destroyed.

    To prevent serious losses from future floods, new linear accelerators were placed in vaults with water-tight doors, all incoming utilities were raised 20 feet, and generators were moved to higher elevations. Three and a half years after the hurricane, a new bed tower is being constructed; all essential services will be located on the upper floors of the support building and new hospital. The first floors of the new hospital and support building will be 12 feet above sea level, and the second floors will be 25 feet above sea level.

    Even resource-limited hospitals, like those in Thailand would benefit from such measures. A recent survey of Thai hospitals found that while many hospitals throughout the country had flood protocols similar to those taken in Galveston, only 52 percent had performed protocol-related exercises. The authors estimate that flooding accounted for an estimated loss of $4.8 million USD per hospital associated with extensive floods.

    Additionally, while protocols can be costly, measures to ensure a safe post-flood hospital environment are not necessarily resource dependent. A
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  • Contact: Kate Enos
    kenos@gymr.com
    202-745-5071
    Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America
    Source:Eurekalert

    Page: 1 2 3

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