Sacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald Coast Will Evacuate Patients for Major Hurricanes
In collaboration with the Walton County Emergency Operations Center (EOC) and the South Walton Fire District, Sacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald Coast developed a hurricane evacuation plan to protect patients and provide high quality emergency care before and after the storm.
Three conditions must exist before the hospital will evacuate its patients to another facility farther inland:
* The Walton County EOC must issue a mandatory evacuation for South Walton County.
* The hurricane must be at a category 3 or stronger. A category 3 hurricane has winds from 111 to 130 mph with a projected storm surge of 9-12 feet.
* The hospital must be in the projected cone of landfall of a category 3 or stronger hurricane 48 hours prior to arrival of the storm.
The hospital’s Emergency Department will remain open after hospitalized patients are evacuated, and it will remain open as long as it is logistically possible. The Emergency Department staff will work directly with Walton County EMS and the South Walton Fire District during the storm and will re-open to the general public as soon as possible after the storm passes.
Bridges in Walton County close when there are sustained winds of 40 mph or higher. Additionally, Walton County EMS and the South Walton Fire District have a policy to stop sending ambulances when winds exceed 40 mph, but exceptions may be made depending on the particular situation upon the discretion of the emergency response team.
Sacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald Coast is a 58-bed hospital located east of Destin along Highway 98 in Walton County. The hospital is located less than a mile from the Gulf of Mexico to the south and Choctawhatchee Bay to the north.
“Due to the hospital’s close proximity to both Choctawhatchee Bay and the Gulf of Mexico, it is in the best interest of our patients, the community and the hospital to evacuate all patients in advance of a powerful hurricane,” said Roger Hall, president of Sacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald Coast. “Our primary focus during the evacuation is to transport our patients inland in order to receive uninterrupted, high quality health care, while providing emergency services both before and directly following the storm.”
In the event of a mandatory evacuation for a category 3 or stronger hurricane, Sacred Heart will partner with Flowers Hospital in Dothan, Alabama to transport patients there.
For more information about Sacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald Coast, please call (850) 278-3600 or visit www.sacredheartemerald.org.