September 2010

CHI Ready Prepares for Emergencies

09-30-10CHI-Ready-FINAL Photo

September was National Preparedness Month, and CHI introduced its "CHI Ready" campaign, which prepares the organization to ensure the safety of employees, patients, equipment, facilities and information in the event of a disaster.

"In a disaster that affects a community served by CHI, we have a responsibility to help anyone who is injured or suffering," said Cynthia Simeone, manager of disaster recovery for CHI. "That means we have to be able to continue operations in case of disruptions in power, transportation, supply deliveries and the other things our employees and patients depend on."

CHI's national offices and many MBOs have already established emergency management and disaster recovery programs. Simeone and her team will build on those programs to unify CHI's approach to emergency response and recovery. "We want to identify leading practices and create more consistency across CHI, while recognizing that each facility has unique circumstances and requirements," said Simeone.

For example, Franciscan Health System, Tacoma, WA, is located just 60 miles from one volcano, Mt. Rainier, and 200 miles from another, Mt. St. Helens. "Neither is very active right now, but the possibility of a major eruption is something we must consider in our emergency response planning," said Eileen Newton, disaster coordinator for Franciscan. "Evacuation would be important in that scenario, and we work closely with county and state agencies on our evacuation plans. All of our employees receive evacuation training when they are hired and annually after that."

Newton and Davina Nolten, disaster coordination specialist for Franciscan, also help raise community awareness of emergency planning. "On September 11, St. Anthony Hospital participated in a Preparedness Fair in Gig Harbor," said Nolten. "We want to help people be prepared to manage their safety and well being if they are cut off from services for a while."

The message of individual responsibility in the event of a disaster is also part of CHI Ready. "We follow the recommendations of the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) Ready America campaign, which recommends that every household maintains a disaster kit with non-perishable food, water and other supplies; makes a plan to check on each other during an emergency; and becomes informed about the emergencies most likely to affect their communities," said Simeone. "When employees are personally prepared, it will be easier for them to fulfill their work duties in an emergency and keep CHI functioning so we can serve communities in need."

CHI employees can find more information about CHI Ready and resources for personal preparedness on the Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery page of CHI's intranet, Inside CHI. Information from the FEMA is available at