Pays to be prepared

Pictured at top are Travis Arrington and Eddie Senkbeil with other members of the region. / Tift Regional Medical Center

Tift Regional Medical Center was recently named Regional Coordinating Hospital of the Year by the Georgia Hospital Association and the Georgia Department of Public Health for its efforts in disaster preparedness.

The recognition was voted on by healthcare institutions throughout the state. Travis Arrington and Eddie Senkbeil coordinate Emergency Management for Tift Regional.

"Being recognized as the Regional Coordinating Hospital of the Year for 2013 is a real honor, especially because it is voted on by our healthcare partners throughout the region and across the state," said Arrington, Safety Officer. "It is an honor for the disaster preparedness program at Tift Regional Medical Center to be respected by our peers."

The Regional Coordinating Hospital (RCH) system provides a coordinated response to emergency events. Georgia's 14 RCHs lead their respective areas in planning and conducting exercises to test the responsiveness of their regions. RCHs also coordinate patient transfers and other essential services during an incident. They serve as a facilitator and advocate for the affected organization related to its needs during an emergency.

Having great people involved who want to be prepared is the key to a successful disaster preparedness program. "The group has to be made up of the staff at TRMC, our regional and state healthcare partners and other external agencies, and my goal is to develop that team," he said. "Dwight D. Eisenhower said, 'Plans are nothing, planning is everything.' It is great to work at Tift Regional with emergency preparedness because the support for it begins at the very top of upper management and is consistent throughout the organization."

Senkbeil, Emergency Management Coordinator, looks to recent natural disasters when describing why he works in the preparedness field. "I never want our area to be like the Hurricane Katrina aftermath," he said. "I want our region and our staff to be prepared and equipped to handle those healthcare emergencies."

TRMC staff continually conducts disaster drills and training for natural, chemical and biological disasters.

"When a disaster happens, the hospital is the one place the people need to have available," Arrington said. "You never know when the persons that need healthcare in a disaster may be your family, friends, co-workers or even yourself. I want to be prepared for every event like my family members were the ones involved."

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