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Sacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald Coast Prepares for Major Hurricanes
Posted: 9/8/2017

MIRAMAR BEACH, FLA. (September 7, 2017) –In collaboration with the Walton County Emergency Management (WCEM) and the South Walton Fire District, Sacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald Coast (SHHEC) developed a hurricane evacuation plan to protect the safety of patients and also provide emergency care during and following the storm.

Sacred Heart has a comprehensive hurricane plan in place designed to prepare for the potential impact of a hurricane landfall within its service area. One part of the plan is to ensure that physicians and associates essential to staff the hospital are available before, during and after a hurricane. When hurricanes threaten our area, the hospital also tests its backup generators and orders extra supplies of food, water and medications.

In certain hurricane threat conditions, the hospital will evacuate patients to more secure healthcare facilities away from the storm’s path. Those conditions include:

  • When Walton County Emergency Management has issued a mandatory evacuation for one or more evacuation zones in Walton County, or an evacuation is deemed necessary for the safety of our patients and associates by the Hospital’s President/CEO.
  • The hurricane must be at a category 2 or stronger and/or a projected storm surge of at least 6–8 feet. A category 2 hurricane has winds from 96 to 110 mph.


If hospital patients were to be evacuated, the plan calls for the hospital’s Emergency Department to remain open as long as it is logistically possible. The Emergency Department staff will work directly with Walton County Emergency Management 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 45 mph or higher. Additionally, Walton County Fire Rescue and the South Walton Fire District have a policy to stop sending ambulances when winds exceed 45 mph, but exceptions may be made depending on the particular situation upon the discretion of the Command Team at the Walton County Emergency Operations Center.

SHHEC will be in close contact with WCEM on the status of the storm and any evacuation measures. Please note that SHHEC does not serve as a public shelter during an emergency or natural disaster, such as a hurricane. Please visit the Walton County Emergency Management web site at www.WaltonCountyEM.org and/or Facebook page at www.facebook.com/WaltonCountyEM for information as well as a list of public shelters that will be activated. Residents can go register to receive emergency notifications at www.AlertWalton.org.

Sacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald Coast is a 76-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.

About Sacred Heart Health System
On the Gulf Coast, Sacred Heart Health System based in Pensacola, Florida, and Providence Hospital based in Mobile, Alabama, are part of Ascension. Together, these Ascension healthcare facilities have served Gulf Coast communities for more than 160 years and they employ more than 6,600 associates. Across the region, Ascension provided more than $113 million in community benefit and care of persons living in poverty in fiscal year 2016. Ascension is a faith-based healthcare organization committed to delivering compassionate, personalized care to all, with special attention to persons living in poverty and those most vulnerable. Ascension is the largest non-profit health system in the U.S. and the world’s largest Catholic health system, operating 2,500 sites of care – including 141 hospitals and more than 30 senior living facilities – in 24 states and the District of Columbia. For more on Sacred Heart Health System, visit www.sacred-heart.org.



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Sacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald Coast | 7800 U.S. Hwy. 98 West; Miramar Beach, FL 32550 | Tel (850) 278-3000 | Toll Free 1-866-591-3600
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