The Emergency Department at Faith Regional Health Services Sustains Major Damage During Hail Storm.
The Emergency Department at Faith Regional had to be evacuated and temporarily
relocated to another area of the hospital.
Norfolk –April 15, 2012: On Saturday, April 14, 2012, the Emergency Department (ED) at Faith Regional Health Services sustained major water and hail damage inside the hospital during the severe weather that hit Norfolk midday. At approximately 1:30 p.m. CST, water began to seep underneath the outside doors to the ED. As a result of the hail and mud, a drain clogged, causing about ten feet of water to build up in a stairwell leading into the ED. The pressure became so great behind the metal door in the stairwell that the door bent, gave way and propelled about ten feet into the Emergency Department. A tsunami of water, mud and hail approximately four feet high poured in and covered every corridor and room in the department along with many hallways and rooms in adjacent departments. Exam rooms, equipment and chairs were upturned. At the time of the incident, there were patients being treated in the ED. Faith Regional immediately implemented its Disaster Plan which involved the evacuation of patients and services in the affected area.
"Having recently moved here from Western North Carolina, I am no stranger to mudslides and the damage that can be caused due to the extreme force at work," stated Tim Auwarter, vice president of Support and Ancillary Services, who was first to arrive at the disaster. "I have never witnessed such destruction so far into a building from water and hail. The ED staff reacted with precision and took immediate action to keep our patients safe and to keep the ED fully operational throughout the transition, along with support team members that went to work relocating computers, telephones and ED equipment, the patient registration area, and mobilizing the clean-up process.”
The temporary Emergency Department has been set up in the first floor of the new bed tower. The Patient Information desk in the lobby of the bed tower has been transformed into the ED Registration desk. A large family waiting area has been designated as the area to care for patients with minor illnesses, while another area of the Intermediate Medical Care Unit has been identified to triage patients with more critical medical needs.
“We were very lucky that none of our patients and teammates were injured as a result of this disaster,” remarked Jim Sinek, President and CEO of Faith Regional Health Services. “The Faith Regional Team came together in their usual and remarkable way to completely relocate the entire Emergency Department to the first floor of our new bed tower. All of this was being done as we were caring for patients and cleaning up the mess. I can’t say enough about the FRHS team of physicians, nurses, clinicians and support staff and the City of Norfolk Fire and Recue Squad who all pitched in and pulled off a miraculous recovery and relocation of an Emergency Department that cares for approximately 16,000 patients per year.”
EMS squads and patients coming to the hospital with emergency needs can access the temporary ED by entering the East side of the hospital off of Norfolk Avenue and 25th Street. The entrance is adjacent to the main entrance of West Campus. The temporary location of the Emergency Department will remain in place until the extent of the damage can be fully assessed and repairs can be made to the area.
"Faith Regional once again has demonstrated its commitment to northeast and north central Nebraska by ensuring that our local emergency department remains open as a vital resource to this area of the state,” commented Speaker Mike Flood of Norfolk. “We can be proud of all the efforts to keep the doors open to those in need. I look forward to working with local and state officials as we move forward to address the next phase of clean-up and maintaining a high quality of emergency care in the Norfolk area."
“Ironically, the hospital was hosting its annual Faith Regional Health Services Foundation Gala that evening,” added Sinek. “The proceeds of the annual fund raiser had already been designated to go toward the renovation and expansion of our Emergency Department!”
Faith Regional Health Services is a 227-bed acute care hospital. Affiliates include Faith Regional Physician Services, Faith Regional Surgery Center, Saint Joseph’s Rehabilitation and Care Center, Skyview Villa Assisted Living, Niobrara Community Hospital, Tilden Community Hospital and West Holt Medical Services.