Hospital Ramps Up for 2007 Storm SeasonNEW ORLEANS In preparation for the 2007 hurricane season, Ochsner Health System has upgraded its hospital disaster plan and implemented additional safeguards to withstand future storms, ensure patient safety, and provide for the essential hospital staff in the event of severe weather. The hospital is taking no chances this season; were prepared for an active storm season. Our top priority is the safety of our patients and employees, and we are prepared for what the future may bring, explains Warner Thomas, President of Ochsner Health System. During Katrina, Ochsner served as a critical resource for critically ill patients both during and after the storm. Ochsner continues to update its disaster preparedness plan. Below are a few of the latest upgrades for 2007: Hospitalized Patients: In the event of a Category 4 storm or higher, patients in certain high-risk categories will be transferred to Ochsner designated hospitals outside the threat zone, all other patients will remain. Communications: Designated Incident Command Centers at Ochsner locations have established options to ensure that communication remains intact internally and with outside agencies throughout periods of severe weather. These communication options include satellite phones, internal cell phones, exterior cell phones, HAM radios with operators, 800 MHz radios, and HEAR radios. Ochsner regularly tests and drills these systems internally, and with parish, state and federal emergency agencies. Employees: During severe weather and other disasters, Ochsner is committed to maintaining appropriate staffing to ensure patient care needs are met in the safest environment possible. Essential employees are designated as Team A or Team B and report for duty before, during and after periods of severe weather. Essential Supplies: Ochsner has increased supplies in order to maintain a state of self-sufficiency for at least 14 days and replenishment immediately thereafter. Electrical: Three additional generators have been installed at Ochsner Medical Center on Jefferson Highway, one generator at Ochsner Medical Center West Bank and one at Ochsner Medical Center, Kenner to provide additional air conditioning and lighting systems. Similar infrastructure improvements are underway at other Ochsner locations. Water: A 650-foot well has been installed at Ochsner Medical Center on Jefferson Highway to provide running water in the event of a disaster. Ochsners existing 200-foot well will serve as back-up. Connections for a water tanker have been installed in the event that both wells fail. 800 foot wells are being drilled and connections installed at Ochsner Medical Center Kenner and West Bank.