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Hennepin County Medical Center storm preparedness plan

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Hennepin County Medical Center
Mark Lappe, left, emergency manager at Hennepin County Medical Center, directs a "tabletop exercise" Tuesday, May 1, 2012 to run through what would happen if a powerful tornado ripped through the Twin Cities.
MPR Photo/Jennifer Simonson

Hennepin County Medical Center

•Location: 701 Park Ave., Minneapolis

•Occupies five city blocks near the Metrodome

•Average daily census is 324 patients

•Site of several specialty clinics and care centers which provide services to dozens of patients daily

Our hypothetical tornado tracks near HCMC, but does not actually hit the facility. Because of the threat of severe weather, the hospital moves to protect patients and prepare to receive casualties from elsewhere.

The Security Operations Center monitors the weather radio and communicates watches and alerts to staff. 

The hospital follows a "shelter-in-place plan" -- which calls for keeping non-ambulatory patients in their rooms but increasing their safety by moving them away from windows, and closing drapes and room doors. 

Visitors and staff would be alerted to the threat and moved to designated shelter areas. 

During severe weather outbreaks, HCMC anticipated ans plans for high call volumes for emergency medical services and an emergency room surge. There may also be staff shortages if people can't get to work, or do not receive word to come in.