In wake of Harvey, Hawaii hospitals say they're prepared for the worst

Updated: Sep. 1, 2017 at 4:26 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Whether it's a natural disaster or a terror attack, emergency services officials say Hawaii's healthcare institutions are prepared for a worst case scenario.

Inside an Oahu warehouse is a cache of medical supplies designed to keep hospitals up and running when they're needed most. Additional supplies and equipment are positioned throughout the state.

Officials say the devastating flooding in Houston from Hurricane Harvey underscores the critical need to be prepared.

"All hospitals have back-up generators. We have multiple layers of communication in case one fails," said Chris Crabtree, director of Healthcare Association of Hawaii Emergency Services. "We also support long term care, assisted living facilities, we support community health centers, home health, hospice."

Crabtree said within moments of a emergency a disaster response team made up of 100 doctors, nurses and paramedics would be ready to respond. The agency also has resources to set up a mobile hospital that houses up to 150 beds anywhere in the state.

And that's not all.

"We have teams. Response teams that go to healthcare facilities and they help them to evacuate and get them out," said Crabtree.

The goal is to prevent a situation like one that unfolded at a Texas nursing home last week, where senior citizens sat submerged in waist deep water after the facility flooded. The National Guard was brought in to rescue them.

Over the past week, Hawaii's emergency management teams have been closely monitoring the response to Harvey.

"Some of the lessons learned -- when a disaster happens no matter how much we have, no matter how well coordinated we are, it's going to take a community to help. Everyone," Crabtree said.

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