The tragedies that befall others always seem to provide a brutal clarity to our own vulnerabilities. For example, the tornadoes and flooding that have affected so many in the Midwestern part of the United States in the last few weeks have served as a stark reminder that a natural disaster has many degrees of destructive power. Many small tornadoes touched down across the Midwest but caused little damage. However, the tornadoes that struck on two separate dates, destroying parts of Moore, Oklahoma and costing many lives, were huge, powerful, and deadly in the paths they took through heavily populated areas and across major travel routes.
Even though lives were lost and material possessions swept away, many in those terrible storms lived because they had access to adequate shelter. Some had also prepared for such events by gathering belongings and documents they felt to be most important in a backpack or bag they were able to quickly grab as they took shelter or by stocking bottled water or other supplies for use after a destructive storm. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has helpful information about preparing for a tornado, what to do during a tornado, and safety after a tornado. These tips might help to prepare you and your family for a tornado or other event.
One major concern for th
ose affected by tornadoes and their aftermath is the loss of medical records. In Moore, the local medical center was decimated by the first storm. However, patients were successfully transferred to other area medical facilities without interruptions in treatment because the damaged medical center had an electronic medical record system in place which allowed the facilities receiving transfers to access the patients’ records. Had the hospital still been using paper records, some of those patients may still not be receiving proper care. This event alone proves the benefits of the electronic medical records system.
Those of us who live in the Midwest know all too well the unpredictable nature of spring and summer weather. We cannot prevent the dangerous and destructive weather, but we can prepare ourselves and our families to survive.