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Emergency response preparedness is on the top of Maimonides’ list

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One local hospital wants the community to know that it is ready, should disaster strike. Linda Reissman, the director of emergency management at Maimonides Medical Center, told members of the 68th Precinct Community Council that the medical center has a variety of plans in place to deal with crises ranging from a natural disaster, even a bad snowstorm, to a terrorist attack, put together by a “30 person multidisciplinary team.” The plans, she told the crowd gathered at the station house, 333 65th Street for the council’s January meeting, “Equip us to take care of any emergency that impacts patient care. We try to do the best we can to make sure the hospital stays open. We prepare for anything but we focus and drill on the things that are most likely to happen. The hospital revamped its plans, said Reissman, “As a result of Hurricane Katrina,” reconfiguring its approach around perceived vulnerabilities. It also is realigning its plans, said Reissman, to come into conformity with the new standard that requires that a hospital be able to sustain itself for a full 96 hours, up from the previous standard of 72 hours. This means having back-up generators for electricity, sufficient supplies, and access to such basic necessities as water. “That’s tough in the city,” Reissman noted. “There’s not a lot of space and everyone uses the same vendors, so it’s a real challenge.” Among other things, personnel are readied for a possible emergency, she added, through two training drills each year. The hospital also has a mutual aid agreement with a variety of other medical centers, including nearby hospitals such as Lutheran Medical Center, Victory Memorial Hospital and Long Island College Hospital, as well as more distant ones, such as Mount Sinai. This, stressed Reissman, provides, “Another layer of prevention and preparedness.” Nonetheless, Reissman concluded, “Hopefully, we’ll never have to use our emergency management plan. That’s the goal.”

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