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Hospitals across the St. Louis area are gearing up for the potential winter storm

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ST. LOUIS (KTVI) - Hospitals across the St. Louis area are gearing up for the potential winter storm. SSM St. Louis University Hospital wants to be prepared to stand on their own for four days straight should the power be cut, or the water pressure drops or whatever Mother Nature throws at this community. Helen Sandkuhl is SLU Hospital’s Director of Disaster Services. She said, “We have an emergency operation plan and it has all hazards approach.”

The incident command center at SLU Hospital has been opened. They said they are prepared to take care of patients, families and staff no matter how bad the weather becomes.  Sandkuhl added, “We are a level one trauma center we have to be prepared for patients 24/7 we never close the doors.”

She said, they can communicate with all other SSM Hospitals with a special system. A warehouse is filled with supplies. They make sure they have plenty of food for patients and staff. If ice covered power lines fall and electricity is cut to homes they can expect the ER to become busy.  Sandkuhl said, “You worry about all the sick people at home that have medical equipment now they don’t have power so they’re going to be coming to the emergency department.”

Crews were breaking out the cots so nurses can stay overnight. It ensures they don’t miss their morning shift to care of the sick and relieve the staff that’s been working through the night. Jennifer Granica is a nurse at SLU Hospital, “There is a lot of stress relief in knowing that I can get here for the start of my shift with not having to deal traffic or car accidents or being late that’s very stressful knowing you have to be somewhere and you can’t get there.”