Local hospitals prepared for emergencies - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Local hospitals prepared for emergencies

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RICHLAND, Wash. -- More than 200 patients evacuated New York University's Langone Medical Center after the power went out and back up generators failed due to superstorm Sandy.

Hurricanes are an unlikely scenario on the West Coast, but the staff at Kadlec Regional Medical Center say they're ready.

"Immediately our generators will automatically go on. We have two big generators that run on diesel," said Jean Schalasky, the Manager of Environment Care and Safety.

The generators are located on the first floor of the Richland hospital and tested once a month. By law they have to run for at least 96 hours after an emergency. Schalasky said the hospital has agreements with outside agencies to deliver fuel in case there's a shortage everywhere and same goes for medical supplies.

"In the event that we do have a shortage, whether its pharmaceutical or any medical supplies we have agreements with outside agencies," Schalasky said.

Hospital staff participate in drills coordinated with Benton County Emergency Services. The interim director, Jeremy Beck says despite recent budget cuts, our community is better prepared than most thanks to an old program.

"The Umatilla Chemical Program was the CSEPP program and they put a lot of money into this community to prepare us in case there ever was an accident. which left us in a great situation," Beck said. "It left us with a lot of equipment, a lot of training, volunteers that were trained

He says because of the Depot, Hanford and Energy Northwest, the people in this town know exactly what to do during most emergencies, whether it be flooding, wildfires, an accident at the nuclear power plant or an earthquake.

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