The evacuation of Cairns hospitals due to Severe Tropical Cyclone Yasi

Little, Mark, Stone, Theona, Stone, Richard, Burns, Jan, Reeves, Jim, Cullen, Paul, Humble, Ian, Finn, Emmeline, Aitken, Peter, Elcock, Mark, and Gillard, Noel (2012) The evacuation of Cairns hospitals due to Severe Tropical Cyclone Yasi. Academic Emergency Medicine, 19 (9). E1088-E1098.

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Abstract

On February 2, 2011, Tropical Cyclone Yasi, the largest cyclone to cross the Australian coast and a system the size of Hurricane Katrina, threatened the city of Cairns. As a result, the Cairns Base Hospital (CBH) and Cairns Private Hospital (CPH) were both evacuated, the hospitals were closed, and an alternate emergency medical center was established in a sports stadium 15 km from the Cairns central business district. This article describes the events around the evacuation of 356 patients, staff, and relatives to Brisbane (approximately 1,700 km away by road), closure of the hospitals, and the provision of a temporary emergency medical center for 28 hours during the height of the cyclone. Our experience highlights the need for adequate and exercised hospital evacuation plans; the need for clear command and control with identified decision-makers; early decision-making on when to evacuate; having good communication systems with redundancy; ensuring that patients are adequately identified and tracked and have their medications and notes; ensuring adequate staff, medications, and oxygen for holding patients; and planning in detail the alternate medical facility safety and its role, function, and equipment.

Item ID: 23815
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
ISSN: 1069-6563
Date Deposited: 31 Oct 2012 05:27
FoR Codes: 11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111709 Health Care Administration @ 34%
11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111799 Public Health and Health Services not elsewhere classified @ 33%
11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1103 Clinical Sciences > 110305 Emergency Medicine @ 33%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9202 Health and Support Services > 920207 Health Policy Evaluation @ 33%
92 HEALTH > 9204 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) > 920407 Health Protection and/or Disaster Response @ 34%
92 HEALTH > 9202 Health and Support Services > 920299 Health and Support Services not elsewhere classified @ 33%
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