When natural disasters strikes, VA responds with personnel, resources



After devastating flooding this month in Louisiana, Baton Rouge and Hammond Community Based Outpatient clinics are back up and operational after being temporarily closed due to the historic rainfall. Keeping clinics, hospitals and VA services up and running during natural disasters is the goal of the Veterans Health Administration’s emergency management team.

The VHA Office of Emergency Management is responsible for the Veterans Health Administration’s Comprehensive Emergency Management Program (CEMP), which serves America’s Veterans by assuring mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery activities focused on continuity of Veterans care in the event of emergencies and disasters.

“The thing I try to impress upon our medical center directors is this, we never need an invitation to go in and provide services for our Veterans,” said Dan Bochicchio, director of VHA Emergency Management. “Just as we did less than two months ago when parts of West Virginia were hit with historic rainfall and flooding, we will be there to aide Veterans in need of care.”

In Louisiana, VA nursing, pharmacy and police staff deployed to the devastated Baton Rouge area to help Veterans in need of assistance.

“With such conditions as widespread flooding, street and school closures, and intermittent cellular availability, this is no small feat. We have a strong and resilient team who is supportive of each other and committed to our mission of serving Veterans, said Fernando Rivera, director for the Southeast Louisiana Veterans Health Care System.I’m proud to say that, with few exceptions, all of our patients have been contacted.

“Our command center has been up and running, tracking the progress and status of our operations. We have a phenomenal emergency manager and emergency operations team dedicated to supporting staff in the fields,” said Rivera.

Author

Dwayne Wingfield