Local hospitals stay prepared in case of a natural disaster

GUNTERSVILLE, Ala. -- Hurricane Irma forced some hospitals in Florida to evacuate patients. Some of those transferred to north Alabama. If the tables were turned and there was a disaster here, local hospitals in the area say that they are ready and that they stay that way.

Marshall County has two hospitals: Marshall Medical Center North and Marshall Medical Center South; one on each end of the county. Staff at both centers make a continuous effort to stay ready if the worst were to happen in Marshall County. The centers revisit the emergency plans annually and drill multiple times throughout the year.

“At least twice a year we have a pretty large-scale event, and then we do different types of drills throughout the year," explained Marshall Medical Center North ER Director Audra Ford, "It may just be communication, or a table top or something along those lines.”

The centers recently did a drill that involved many moving parts, in a realistic scenario of what could happen. The idea was North had to evacuate to South, and the staff planned and acted on all aspects of the situation. “This is the first time we’ve done an evacuation drill like this, that we have impacted both facilities,” Ford explained.

It's all part of staying prepared so that everyone, from staff to responders, know what their role is. “We want to be ready for anything," explained Marshall Medical Center South ER Director Renee Jordan, "I work the emergency department and we want to make sure that we’re prepared, even though we’re a small community, we want to be prepared for what happens for us.”