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Oklahoma Hospitals Discuss Disaster Plans
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK-- A massive power failure at the NYU hospital forces dozens of patients to evacuate during Superstorm Sandy, which brings attention to disaster response at hospitals nationwide.
Disaster specialists at Integris say they conduct disaster drills twice a year, one in fall before the ice storms, and another in spring before tornado season.
"We would activate what's called our emergency operations plan," said James DeHaven, Disaster Response and Recovery Specialist at Integris, "which is a response plan that we have in place to assist us during any type of an emergency."
DeHaven says there are about seven back-up sources of power at Integris Baptist Medical Center. If all back up systems fail, DeHaven says vendors will supply additional back-up generators.
Disaster specialists say power sources are tested once a month at Integris.
"We try to mitigate if you will any of those unforeseen bad things that can happen and will," said DeHaven.
Across town at OU Medical Center, disaster responders say they also have back-up generators and batteries that keep power running when there's an emergency.
"We keep our medical equipment plugged in at all times," said Valerie Hanson, Director of Safety Programs at OU Medical Center, "so that the battery is full and ready to go if something like that would happen."
Both OU Medical Center and Integris disaster specialists say each time hospitals respond to major disasters like Superstorm Sandy, they take time to evaluate how other hospitals respond to see if there are ways they can improve their own response plans.
Hanson says after the tornado in Joplin, MO, OU Medical Center added glow in the dark signs to light stairwells to help light the way when patients on higher floors when they need to retreat to safe rooms on lower floors.
OU Medical Center employees also make sure all patients have shoes on when its time to evacuate. Hanson says during the Joplin tornado, many patients found themselves stepping on broken glass, debris, and down power lines. She says even small details, like keeping a patient's shoes near hospital beds help prevent more problems when major disasters hit the metro.
"We're constantly working on plan development and prevention methods, as well as best practices," she said.
Posted: Tuesday, October 30 2012, 11:01 PM CDT
IN OKLAHOMA NEWS
Major accomplishments of 2013 Oklahoma Legislature
May 24, 2013 23:22 GMT
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OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- Major items passed by the Oklahoma Legislature, which was working Friday to wrap up its 2013 session:
-- Tax Cut: Lawmakers adopted legislation that reduces the state's top income rate from 5.25 percent to 5 percent beginning Jan. 1, 2015, with a second cut to 4.85 percent set for 2016 if state revenues continue to rise. The measure has been signed into law by Gov. Mary Fallin.
-- State Capitol Improvements: The tax cut bill also diverts $120 million in income tax revenue over the next two years to a fund that will finance improvements and repairs to the State Capitol building. Built between 1914 and 1917, yellow barricades now ring the building's south plaza to keep pedestrians from walking beneath pieces of a limestone facade that has crumbled from the building.
-- Budget Bill: The Legislature adopted a $7.1 billion general appropriations bill to fund state government for the fiscal year that begins July 1. The bill increases spending by nearly $270 million over the current year's budget, with funding growth focused mostly on education, health care and human services.
-- Worker's Compensation: Fallin signed legislation to overhaul the state's workers' compensation system. The measure changes Oklahoma's current court-based system to an administrative structure. Supporters say the change will dramatically reduce workers' compensation costs to businesses.
-- CompSource: Lawmakers also passed a measure that converts the nonprofit CompSource Oklahoma into an independent mutual company that will be known as CompSource Mutual Insurance Company. The agency writes about one-third of Oklahoma's workers' compensation policies.
-- Rainy Day Appropriation: Within days of devastating tornadoes that struck Moore, Shawnee and other areas, lawmakers approved using $45 million from the state's constitutional reserve fund to help communities recover from the damage. Among other things, the money will help pay for repairs to local infrastructure damaged by the tornadoes and the overtime costs of first responders. A total of 24 people, including 10 children, died in the Moore tornado and two other people were killed in the Shawnee tornado.
-- Pension Changes: Lawmakers passed legislation to reduce the unfunded liability of Oklahoma's pension system for firefighters. The bill requires new firefighters to be at least 50 years old and have worked for 22 years, instead of the current 20 years, to be eligible for benefits. New firefighters also would not become vested until they had worked for 11 years, instead of the current 10 years. The bill also increases the amount that firefighters, municipalities and the state pay into the system each year.
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