Contact: Jim Gangl, 218-725-5222,
Jim Skoog, 218-725-5240,
St. Louis County Public Health & Human Services
(Third in a series of six stories)
Area Hospitals Have Emergency Plans in Place
How Northeastern Minnesota Organizations
Have Been Preparing for Emergency Situations
A number of emergency responsibilities fall directly on the shoulders of area hospitals. All area hospitals have emergency plans in place. When an emergency strikes, hospitals need to be ready to treat any kind of illness or injury.
The Northeast Minnesota Regional Hospital Emergency Preparedness Group includes clinics, county and tribal public health, local emergency planners, emergency medical services, Red Cross, law enforcement, military and human services staff. Hospitals have an integrated and comprehensive plan in place, and have tested parts of the plan to assure they are ready. Staff training programs have been conducted, including practice drills on emergency procedures. A study has been done to identify the strengths of each hospital in the region, so patients with special needs can be transported to the best location for the most appropriate care.
Northeastern Minnesota has a regional pharmaceutical cache or supply, in addition to being able to receive medical supplies from a national stockpile within 12 hours of a Governor’s request. Both are ready for use if mass dispensing of medical supplies is needed. There is also a stock of personal protective masks and decontamination tents at each hospital if their staff needs protection.
Hospitals have also added emergency procedures and equipment to help keep operating during a power outage. There are backup electrical power sources in case of a blackout. Additional communications equipment has been obtained to avoid the problems that have occurred in other parts of the country during recent regional and national emergencies.
A plan called “surge response” has been developed for area hospitals to help if there are a dramatically increased number of patients due to a large emergency in one or two hospitals.
In case of any emergency event, always listen to your local radio or television station for advice on appropriate actions for you and your family. For more information go the Northeast Minnesota regional website or contact your nearest St. Louis County Public Health office in Ely, Duluth, Hibbing or Virginia for the "Be Prepared" fact sheet.