Winston-Salem, N.C., Sept 8, 2017 – Hurricane Irma is threatening the Eastern states and Novant Health is prepared to take care of the communities it serves. Novant Health and health care systems across the country prepare for a wide variety of emergency situations on an ongoing basis.

“When threatened with a natural disaster, we remain committed to protecting the health and safety of our patients,” said Matt Merritt, emergency preparedness manager for Novant Health. “We will be here to take care of our communities, regardless of the weather so we continually prepare internally and with our healthcare partners so that we can fulfill that mission.”

For instance, plans are in place to work with other health care systems throughout the state to share resources like care teams, supplies and services.

Plans call for hospitals to remain open. All facilities are equipped with generators and other backup systems, officials noted. As Irma approaches, additional supplies like water, food and medication are in place, and staffing can be adjusted as needed.

Novant Health is part of regional health care preparedness coalitions and stays in close contact with state and county emergency management teams to ensure the safety of patients. In North Carolina, Novant Health is part of a mutual aid agreement signed by nearly all hospitals.

“This allows us to share staff, easily transfer patients, and exchange equipment and supplies under a pre-determined agreement," Merritt said. "This truly makes us one community healthcare system."

In fact, Novant Health just finished participating in a statewide exercise that mobilized teams to transfer patients from areas prone to natural disasters to facilities outside the impact zone.

“Emergency drills like these help us stay up-to-date on what actions need to be taken should a disaster strike,” Merritt said. “We can be ready to go at a moment’s notice.”

Are you ready? Click here for more information about steps you can take to prepare yourself and your family for an emergency.