Aiken Regional Medical Center is only the second hospital in the state to earn the "storm ready" certification. (WRDW-TV / July 7, 2011)
News 12 at 6 o'clock / June 7th, 2011
AIKEN, S.C. -- Just a few weeks ago severe storms ripped through the area causing a lot of damage. What if it had been worse?
One hospital is taking steps to keep you safer in severe weather. The Aiken Regional Medical Center is now "storm ready" certified by the National Weather Service. This certification is all about being ready before a disaster strikes.
"We have patients in this hospital all the time, we need to be more proactive and understand when the storm is coming before it hits and get our infrasturcture in place," said Scott Ansede, the ARMC chief operating officer.
This certification has been a two-year process including everything from training hospital employees to developing a new alert system.
"When the National Weather Service issues a storm warning for either a hurricane warning or a tornado warning and that goes out on the air, our Volo system notifies every associate, physician and every member of our disaster preparedness team," Ansede said.
The hospital even has storm spotters.
"We activate a storm spotter team, and they will actually be posted around the hospital to observe and let us know if they identify anything that is a risk to the facility," Ansede said.
Aiken Regional can also use its own AM radio station during emergencies.
Bob Besley is the Safety & Sercuity Manager at the hospital.
"We've seen in disasters -- such as hurricanes and tornadoes -- that the traditional means of communication, telephones -- all of that is lost -- so we use amateur radio as a backup," he said.
The hospital knows it's ready, Besley said.
"We had a tornado that was reported in the Aiken area that was supposedly very close to the hospital and we began moving patients and we took all of our visitors and guests that were in the emergency department and moved them to the interior hallways," he said.
In the end, it's all about safety. Aiken Regional Medical Center is only the second hospital in the state to earn that "storm ready" status.