As Hurricane Irene crawls along the east coast, threatening torrential rain, strong winds and floods, preparations continue. The Hampton VA Medical Center has evacuated half of its patients, and further evacuations may be in order. And in New York, a partial evacuation has begun at the Manhattan VA Medical Center, where Veterans are being moved inland ahead of the storm. Clearly disaster preparation and information resources become increasingly vital as the storm approaches. Federal agencies like FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security, along with the Red Cross, have been regularly updating their websites as well as Facebook and Twitter with helpful information and tips for weathering the storm.
Along with evacuation of the Hampton VA medical Center, a number of VA facilities in the path of the hurricane have begun preparations to secure patient safety. If you’re on the east coast, check the most recent status report to see if your facility is affected:
VA facilities along the eastern seaboard of the continental United States continue preparatory actions in advance of potential landfall of Hurricane Irene, including:
- Preparing all at-risk facilities and campuses for high winds and rains
- Ensuring that ample medical supplies, food, water and fuels are on hand at all VA medical facilities in the path
- Preparing for a partial evacuation today of the Manhattan VA Medical Center (VAMC), in concert with local authorities, to transfer a number of vulnerable patients in the New York City area to safer VA Medical Centers ahead of the storm. Some New York City VA patients will be transferred to the Bronx & Brooklyn VAMCs
- Potentially announcing the early closing of coastal VA Community Based Outpatient Clinics (CBOCs) in Morehead City, Wilmington, Jacksonville & Virginia Beach due to possible wind effects on bridges
- Preparing to reschedule out-patient appointments at select coastal VA medical clinics this afternoon
VA is also assessing possible impacts of Hurricane Irene on several facilities including but not limited to Perry Point, Wilmington, West Haven, Providence and Boston VA Medical Centers, Cambridge CBOC, Dover Out Patient Center and the Georgetown Out Patient Center.
For federal agency and disaster response links and information, see below. And make sure you’re following Facebook and Twitter updates at your local facility. They should have the most recent information on closures, delays and evacuations.
Department of Homeland Security
Department of Homeland Security on Facebook | @DHSJournal on Twitter
Blog updates from FEMA
FEMA on Facebook | @FEMA on Twitter
Other government and emergency resources
Ready.gov: Hurricane Preparedness | @ReadydotGov on Twitter
Hurricane Irene Track
National Hurricane Center on Facebook | @NHC_Atlantic on Twitter
American Red Cross | Red Cross on Facebook | @RedCross on Twitter
As events unfold, we’ll keep you updated here.
UPDATE: Sunday August 28 3:33 PM ET
Below is an update on VA services available tomorrow in North Carolina.
The Morehead City Community Based Outpatient Clinic will be closed on Monday, August 29. However, the Greenville Mobile Vet Center will be on site to provide limited health care services on Monday, August 29 and Tuesday, August 30. The Morehead City Community Based Outpatient Clinic is located at 5420 U.S. 70, Morehead City, N.C. 28557. Canceled appointments will be rescheduled at the earliest opportunity.
The Greenville Community Based Outpatient Clinic will be open on August 29. It will provided limited services.
Veterans impacted by Hurricane Irene may call the VA Emergency Hotline at (800) 507-4571. VA Employees may report their status by calling (866) 233-0152.
All other Durham VA Medical Center clinics and facilities are operating under a normal schedule. Please go to http://www.durham.va.gov/emergency for updates as they become available.