Remember last year's winter? It’s hard to forget when more than 80 inches of snow fell in Boston, greatly surpassing the average 41.8 inches. Storms like the blizzard that plowed through the city the day after Christmas 2010 caused messy commutes, power outages and frustration for many.
The MGH Emergency Preparedness team says that while severe weather is challenging, there are ways employees can take an active role in staying safe and productive this winter. “It’s important to remember that the hospital is always open – 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If an employee cannot reach the hospital, they must contact their manager so other arrangements can be made,” says David Reisman, administrative director of Emergency Preparedness. “While the main campus is always open, community health centers or other off-campus sites sometimes have delayed openings. For employees who work at these locations, it’s always best to check in with a manager.”
Other recommendations Reisman offers include knowing mangers’ expectations, allowing extra time to travel to and from work, wearing proper clothing while outside and being prepared for power outages. With regard to power outages, Tom Herrmann, administrative manager for Emergency Preparedness, says it is important to have a fully charged phone to stay updated and in contact with others. It’s best to plug in mobile phones at home, but he suggests putting them on standby mode or turning them off to conserve battery. In addition, Herrmann says, many smart phone applications can be useful in severe weather situations.
“Using apps is a great way to receive information while on the go. Many of them are free and push alerts to phones,” Herrmann says.
The Emergency Preparedness team offers the following resources for staying informed:
- Look for the latest updates in Daily Broadcast emails or on www.massgeneral.org.
- Contact the MGH Severe Weather Line for updates at 617-724-6100.
- Follow MGH’s Twitter handle, @massgeneralnews, or visit the Facebook page, www.facebook.com/massgeneral.
- Check for MBTA service delays at www.mbta.com/winter.
- Watch local news reports for road closures or other critical infrastructure information.
Overall, Reisman has one key message for staff. “The best piece of advice I can give is to plan ahead. For example, if you are coming to work before a severe storm is predicted, consider what you need to bring or do if you cannot get home immediately after the end of your shift.” For more information about Emergency Preparedness at the MGH as well as the MGH Severe Weather Policy, access http://sharepoint.partners.org/mgh/emergencypreparedness.
Read more articles from the 01/13/11 Hotline issue.