87th AMS Annual Meeting

Wednesday, 17 January 2007: 1:30 PM
"But I was watching the weather report . . . how NWS Hurricane Forecast and GEOSS Data contribute to medical planning before hurricane season”
209 (Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center)
Margaret Lynn Fowke, NOAA/NWS, Silver Spring, MD
Understanding and interpreting weather information and understanding severe weather impacts on hospitals is important for the health sector at large, especially those responsible for hospital facilities. Most clinicians and health professionals understand the importance of disease prevention. However, using weather forecasts as a tool in prevention of health issues and aid in medical planning is generally not well understood within the health sector. Working with meteorologists to better understand and interpret hurricane tracks and the limitations of forecasts can offer health professionals tremendous benefits in regard to community preparedness and potential post-disaster health needs. The empowerment of medical staff within hospitals and hospital administrators to make decisions using a hospital case study developed with National Weather Service (NWS) hurricane forecast information is the focus of this presentation. A case study was developed with two NWS meteorologists, a physician and structural engineer, and presented at the 2006 National Hurricane Conference. Medical websites such as American Association of Diabetes Educators, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, American Hospital Association, Society for Hospital Medicine, Surgeon Generals Medical Reserve Corps, and hospital staff who attended the 2006 National Hurricane Conference are currently using weather/Global Environmental Observing Systems of Systems (GEOSS) applications for ordering medical supplies/shipments, staffing, decisions to evacuate critical patients, etc. The discussion will also focus on how interpretation of NWS hurricane outlook and forecast information can assist in planning issues related to facilities/engineering, staffing, communications, medical equipment and patient transport and will cite recent examples of Capital Area Diabetes Educators using NWS/GEOSS information as a tool to stage with pharmaceutical companies to order diabetes supplies for vulnerable populations. Other applications using NWS air quality, heat/cold, flooding forecasts will also be discussed.

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