From the 2010 Winter StayHealthy publication
If our community ever experiences a natural disaster or medical crisis that would cause an influx of patients, Porter is prepared. With the recent investment in a new portable hospital and the acquisition of an emergency advisory radio station, Porter is now equipped to provide care in even the most daunting scenarios.
Porter’s surge hospital is the only emergency facility of its kind in Northwest Indiana. It is designed to assist when there is a surge in the number of patients needing care and treatment. The 22’ x 42’ inflatable, self-contained mobile unit is equipped with a heating and cooling system, electric generators, lights, and 16 portable hospital beds – making it perfect to assist year round.
“If Porter were damaged by a tornado or say a train wreck occurred in the area with many casualties, we can have the surge tent inflated in approximately eight minutes and operational in 20 to 30 minutes,” shared Gary Atherton, Director of Emergency Medical Services at Porter. “The whole thing breaks down and is stored in a 26- foot trailer, so we can transport it off-site,” Atherton continued. He also shared that the surge hospital could be used to provide pandemic triage away from the hospital to avoid the spread of disease, and it could also be used as a warming area or cooling shelter in cases of disaster.
Another recent addition to increase Porter’s emergency preparedness is RadioSTAT – Porter’s Portable Emergency Advisory Radio Station.
Jim McClanahan, Porter’s Director of Security and Safety, explained that RadioSTAT allows the broadcast of critical instructions regarding disasters, evacuations, infrastructure failures, traffic information, and more. The radio signal for Porter’s RadioSTAT is 1610 am.
The signal broadcasts over a three to five mile radius of wherever the antenna is located. “We’ll use this any time an emergency comes up,” said McClanahan. “For instance, last year we had a huge snow storm that severely impacted Porter associates. If we encounter this type of weather system today, we can broadcast messages to assist in informing our associates about facility operations.”
Soon, RadioSTAT will begin broadcasting continually on 1610 am with messages of the public service type, but will change as time goes by. “The beauty of this is that we can transmit anything affecting the hospital operations. It’s a great way to keep everyone informed and safe,” McClanahan commented.