Fresenius Ready to Respond to Tornadoes, Hurricanes, Flood Emergencies
Advance Planning Ensures that Dialysis Patients Can Continue Life-Sustaining Treatments After Disaster Strikes
WALTHAM, Mass. – May 21, 2014 – When a deadly tornado with winds up to 200 miles per hour swept through Louisville, Miss., on April 28, nine patients and five staff members were inside the Fresenius Medical Care Winston County dialysis clinic. The building sustained extensive damage to its windows, walls and roof, but no patients or staff were injured. As the storm subsided, staff members quickly began rolling out emergency plans to treat the clinic’s patients at other nearby facilities while their own facility is being repaired.
The tornados that hit Louisville and nearly a dozen other Mississippi locales – as well as the approaching Atlantic hurricane season, which begins June 1 – provide vivid reminders of the importance of being prepared for natural disasters. While tornados, hurricanes, floods and other emergencies can wreak havoc on entire communities, they pose an especially serious health threat to dialysis patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD), who need life-sustaining treatment typically three times a week to remove waste products and extra fluids from their blood after their kidneys have failed.
Fresenius Medical Care North America (FMCNA), the nation’s leading network of dialysis facilities, invests heavily in emergency response planning and preparation to be ready for events that could potentially interrupt treatments for its more than 170,000 U.S. patients. The company’s Disaster Response Team works closely with local governments and community organizations to ensure that patients can continue to receive treatments, medical supplies, medicines and lab services during emergencies. And while most of its activity occurs during storm season, the disaster team works year round to anticipate potential problems and develop response strategies.
“We’re dedicated to responding effectively and efficiently to provide emergency care for our staff and patients during times of crisis,” says Bill Numbers, FMCNA’s senior vice president of operations support and incident commander for disaster response and planning. “Our response has been tested time and time again – from Hurricanes Sandy, Ike and Katrina, to this year’s tornados in Mississippi – and we continue to learn from each new event, which enables us to respond even better the next time.”
Less than 100 miles from the Louisville clinic, just outside of Jackson, Miss., a company warehouse serves as a crisis staging area and logistical command center to respond to disasters across the United States. Like several other strategically located FMCNA facilities, it is home to a fleet of fully-equipped portable temporary housing and supply trailers, as well as generators, fuel, food and medical supplies that can be quickly deployed to assist clinics and staff members whose homes have been affected, following a natural disaster.
On May 20 and 21, the Jackson facility will host FMCNA’s annual Disaster Preparation Summit, which will provide emergency-response training to company managers and emergency specialists from across the country. FMCNA also consistently reviews, revises and updates its national and regional disaster plans.
While FMCNA does its best to ensure continued service in the event of disasters, it recommends that dialysis patients and their loved ones prepare themselves during storm season by following an emergency checklist developed by the company.
For more information on FMCNA’s disaster response efforts and important tips to help patients prepare for any emergency, visit FMCNA’s Disaster Response website.
About Fresenius Medical Care North America
Through its leading network of more than 2,150 dialysis facilities in North America and vascular access centers, laboratory, pharmacy and affiliated hospitals and nephrology practices, Fresenius Medical Care provides renal services to hundreds of thousands of people throughout the United States, Mexico and Canada. It is also the continent’s top producer of dialysis equipment, dialyzers and related disposable products and a major supplier of renal pharmaceuticals.For more information about the company, visit www.fmcna.com.