EASLEY — Snow and ice brought nearly all of Pickens County to a standstill last week but Baptist Easley Hospital was prepared for just about any eventuality.
In preparation for the winter accumulation and hazardous conditions, Baptist Easley housed 103 staff members with 141 accommodations. In conjunction with local first responders, a total of 27 transport runs had been made to deliver other staff as well.
The state Joint Commission requires two full scale drills or exercises per year, and in 2013 it was just luck that helped prepare staff at Baptist Easley for the heavy winter storm.
“It’s really kind of ironic. Our second exercise for 2013 was a preparedness exercise for an unusually large snow storm,” said Richard Collins, manager for Safety, Security, and Emergency Management. “There were a number of items we took away from that exercise we wanted to implement and the first storm this year was a warm up.”
To maintain service within an organization such as Baptist Easley, it takes more than just medical staff. Not only were essential physicians and support personnel housed, Collins explained how much support is needed.
“This was a tremendous team effort and a lot more goes into being prepared than just having medical staff,” Collins said. “There’s food preparation, engineering staff in the physical plant, environmental services to keep everything clean, and security. It literally takes a village to run this place. It’s a small town on its own.”
Administration and supervisory staff stepped up to fill roles within the preparedness plan, shoveling sidewalks, preparing food, and pitching in wherever help was needed.
“Front line staff left their families at home for two to three days and were boarded here,” Collins said. “We tried to keep refreshments on hand for staff, showed movies, and their attitude was unbelievable throughout.”
Under these circumstances, morale is a big factor.
“When the staff knows where to go and what to expect, that goes a long way to improve morale,” said Collins. “Morale was already high with the staff, but when they could see the administration kicking into the effort, that made an impact.”
Having been exceptionally prepared for the storm which caused a shutdown across the area, Collins was pleased with the results of the entire staff’s efforts, marking patient service as the measuring stick for success.
“Our patients’ experienced no interruptions of service, and care was never interrupted,” explained Collins. “With no interruptions to patient care, that makes it all a success.”