Grant Funds Safety Equipment

Shore Health System has been awarded grants from the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Office of Preparedness and Response to purchase safety equipment for The Memorial Hospital at Easton and Dorchester General Hospital. This round of grants, which exceed $157,000, brings the total awards Shore Health System has received from the state since 2003 to $1 million.

Gary Poole, director of safety and security for Shore Health System, says “We have deliberately pursued grants when they have become available. The purchases we have made with the state grant money help us to be prepared in the event of a natural disaster, pandemics and other emergency situations that require a healthcare response.”

The latest grant has been used to purchase a computerized communications board for the incident command centers at Memorial Hospital and Dorchester General Hospital. The board keeps track of the roles and responsibilities of hospital management who lead activities during an emergency. The hospital incident command centers will be further enhanced with the installation of document management software, which electronically tracks the data that must be collected according to National Incident Management System (NIMS) regulations. The software also provides drill scenarios that are used to help medical personnel practice how to respond to many types of emergencies. The computerized communications board and the tracking software eliminate paper-based systems and improve access to information in real time.

Shore Health System also used the state grant to purchase three satellite telephones for each hospital. The phones will be available if the hospital telecommunications system is not available during an emergency. “The satellite phones will improve communication with remote locations where temporary patient treatment units may be set up during times of increased demand for hospital services,” explains Poole.

The grant funding also enabled Shore Health System to purchase a portable diesel-fueled generator for Memorial Hospital and Dorchester General Hospital. Housed in a trailer than can be hitched to a truck, the generators are intended to provide power at temporary medical facilities that are set up outside of the hospital.

Shore Health System demonstrates its commitment to emergency preparedness by providing regular staff training as new equipment is made available. “All of our managers and directors, including members of our senior leadership team, have completed the NIMS educational modules to prepare them for responding to different levels of disasters,” Poole says. “Our investment in staff training, thorough documentation of our emergency preparedness plans and participation in statewide drills show the state that we are serious about the role we play in supporting the community. We are grateful that the state recognizes our commitment by approving our requests for grants.”