As the Richmond VAMC returns to normal operations after the wake of Hurricane Irene, the Incident Command Center is still operating under emergency conditions until all of the patients that were evacuated from Hampton VAMC last Thursday are back home.
The Incident Command Center served as the communications and logistic hub for the medical center. It was a coordinated operation of staff, engineering services, safety, emergency management, and teamwork to greet the patients, their support teams and their supplies from Hampton VAMC.
“Our main goal is our patient’s safety,” said Jason Smith, Emergency Management Specialist. It is not routine to evacuate a medical center, but when weather conditions are as concerning as what was predicted for the impact of Hurricane Irene, patient safety is the number one goal.
Staff members from the Hampton VA Medical Center also worked diligently with the Richmond staff to ensure all patients were comfortable and their health care needs were addressed. The Richmond staff and Hampton team members have worked together on previous evacuations during hurricane season.
At around 9am, the first buses began loading with equipment, supplies, wheelchairs, while patients started boarding shortly after. “Our job is not complete until the last bus has been arrived and the Veterans back home,” said Jason.