RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- The WakeMed staff isn't letting their guard down as Hurricane Florence approaches North Carolina.
"We don't let our guard down at all because we know from experience, this storm can slow down, it can speed up, it's such a massive storm," explained Dr. Barb Bisset. As the Executive Director of the Emergency Services Institue, Bisset is responsible for emergency management and disaster response for the entire WakeMed system.
"Ironically, we did our mass casualty drill June 29 where we brought in simulated 87 patients within 90 minutes so we just got through that drill," Bisset said.
"It wasn't a hurricane type situation, but an injury is an injury with patients, so we have spent a lot of dedicated time to make sure our folks are well trained and we pay a lot of attention to the detail of how to care for patients in situations like this," Bisset added.
With seven emergency departments across Wake County, WakeMed is ramping up staff and is ready to sleep at the hospital before, during, and after Florence hits.
They are prepared to handle an increase in patient volume and already have taken in some patients evacuating from coastal communities.
"Our emergency physicians are making sure they are getting ample staff in and they have a very robust plan on how we can handle emergencies," Bisset said.
All hospitals are required by law to have generators and multiple days of fuel and structurally are held to a higher code than residential housing.
By design, Bisset said the interior of the hospital is where the most critical departments are including operating rooms and staff run through many drills including what to do in case of a tornado threat.
"Our staff knows where their tornado safe areas are," Bisset said. "They know where the areas are they need to go should the winds get to an extreme level," she added. Bisset says the WakeMed staff is also busy providing medical support at shelters across the region.