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Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital Weathers Hurricane Irma


Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital's Emergency Center
meeting in preparation for Hurricane Irma

Hurricane Irma slammed into the Florida Keys on Sunday, Sept. 10, about two weeks after Hurricane Harvey hit Texas. As Irma traveled up Florida’s west coast, it knocked out power and brought heavy rain, wind and damage to the Sunshine state.

Leading up to and during the storm, 700-plus physicians and staff at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg came together to keep the hospital operating for more than 120 patients in need of immediate care and nearly 20 chronic children in need of shelter care.

When the hospital opened its newest building in 2010, it incorporated the latest in hurricane-resistant technology to ensure the hospital remains fully functional during such storms. Some of the technology includes a well that provides a clean water supply to sustain the hospital in case an emergency affects the city water supply, impact windows rated to withstand major hurricane winds, and a central energy plant that enables the hospital to run without outside power for up to 21 days.

In addition to caring for patients during Irma, staff held several impromptu events during the storm, including a birthday party for a newly admitted three-year-old leukemia patient and holding a talent show in the hospital lobby that helped mask the sounds of hurricane force winds.

While Johns Hopkins All Children’s had minimal issues during the storm, many employees were displaced. Using an employee assistance fund, the hospital was able to provide immediate assistance to hospital employees affected by the hurricane.