Janet Seebert, RN took over the job of Coordinator for Disaster Preparedness at Catalina Island Medical Center on January 1, 2014. Her job includes managing “Bio Terrorism” threats (were they to occur), emergency preparedness for earthquakes, floods, fires or other natural disasters and coordinating the training and mobilization of community members and medical staff while also maintaining important hospital resources. With recent earthquakes and fires “in the news”, questions on Facebook and concerns being raised on the internet have included “what would Avalon do” in the case of a major disaster or community emergency? Seebert has a list of goals that when realized should help Catalina to cope with whatever the future brings. A top priority is to add new CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) members and provide for their training here in Avalon. If 20 people would agree to attend the CERT weekend of training sessions, LA County instructors will travel to Catalina to hold the classes. Seebert hopes to arrange for quarterly task force meetings with community partners — CIMC, Baywatch, Fire, Sheriff, City and Harbor Departments. She is also working on a Business Continuity Plan. What if a disaster forced the hospital to relocate? What is needed? Where would the hospital go? What will each CIMC department need to be responsible for? What will patients and community members require? Seebert works on organizing emergency supplies and updating inventories. She checks in twice a day on the computer with a statewide network called “Have a Bed” which monitors the available acute care beds in each critical access hospital. It also counts the number of ventilators on hand at each site and the decontamination equipment that is accessible.
On May 6-7 Seebert and other hospital staff members conducted a “Haz Mat” drill in full decontamination gear that was coordinated by Kathy Dollarheid of St Mary’s Hospital in Long Beach (CIMC’s affiliate hospital for disaster resources). Other drills and trainings are held at various times throughout the year to simulate emergency situations. The “SHAKEOUT” Earthquake Drill will be held in September.
A federal grant which provides funds to over 63 hospitals including CIMC also provides for Seebert to be trained as a “Terrorism Liason Officer”. Information sharing, intelligence briefings and preparedness for biological warfare or other threats to public safety are taken very seriously.
Seebert stressed that “preparation is ‘key’ to provide the disaster necessities for each household or family”. An emergency kit with a 72-hour supply of drinking water, food and other items to have on hand is important. If an emergency prevents first responders or CERT team members from reaching those in need, it is vital that neighbors help each other and take charge of whatever the situation is at work, at home, at school or in the place where they find themselves.
Meet Janet Seebert, CIMC’s Disaster Preparedness Coordinator at the 2014 Health Fest on May 22 from 9-3 at her booth on Crescent Avenue to get more information about what you need to know and how you can help. CERT Team signups are also encouraged. For more information about CIMC please call (310) 510-0700.