As wildfires burned in Southern California, emergency rooms flooded with people impacted by the flames, heat, and poor air quality. But hospitals were prepared for the disaster, and acted fast to provide quality care to all of their patients.
Hospitals go the extra mile to inform Californian communities. When air quality warnings were put into place for Ventura, Los Angeles, and Santa Barbara, hospitals prepared accordingly. Providence Holy Cross Medical Center set up a hotline for questions about the warnings, and received 20 calls in just three days.
Californian hospitals are prepared to care for everyone. Microscopic particles in smoke can travel deep into the lungs, which is especially harmful for people who have existing health problems. For people in the hospital with heart and lung conditions, smoke from the fires could mean life or death. Hospitals in affected areas, like Valley Presbyterian in Van Nuys, placed air purifiers throughout the hospital to keep patients safe. The staff also offered face masks to employees, patients, and visitors.
Hospitals are ready for anything. Some hospitals faced power outages and evacuation because of the wildfires. Santa Paula Hospital, which was only miles from where the Thomas fire started, had to rely on a power generator. But the hospital remained open throughout the fire because of a planned, coordinated effort between hospital staff and emergency responders.
When the danger is too great, hospitals put safety first. When the wildfire neared the Vista Del Mar Hospital, caregivers and staff quickly gathered necessary paperwork and medicine for their patients. Staff calmly evacuated patients to nearby facilities, and soon after the hospital was completely destroyed by the fire. Despite the imminent danger, every employee worked purposefully and professionally to ensure patients got out of the hospital safely.