227867 Protection of a Wet lab from a Natural Disaster: Lessons learned from Hurricane Ike 2008

Monday, November 8, 2010 : 3:15 PM - 3:30 PM

Kyungeh An, PhD, RN , School of Nursing, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, TX
Elizabeth Reifsnider, PhD, APRN, BC , School of Nursing, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, TX
William New, MA , School of Medicine, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, TX
Purpose: Analyze the hurricane preparedness of wet labs at University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) in Galveston Texas before, during and after the Hurricane Ike and provide researchers with information learned from Hurricane Ike to protect their wet labs. Methods: An analytical review was conducted on the Hurricane Preparedness Plan practiced at the UTMB. Findings: The UTMB hurricane preparedness response was planned before the hurricane and was practiced immediately after the hurricane. Research personnel were protected by evacuating from campus Day -2 of the hurricane. On-line communication was activated via emergency server from Day 3. Actions for saving samples started on Day 6 but resulted in significant loss of samples. Safety and security were the first priority. Clear guidelines for researchers were published online on Day 17 by the UTMB department of Environmental Health and Safety (EHS). Clinical pathology lab support (Chemistry, Hematology, Microbiology, Blood Bank, and Cytopathology) became available on Day 32. Conclusion: Although the over-all UTMB hurricane response was well planned and practiced, gaps were found for actions to optimally save the data and samples, and these may cause critical loss and delay in research projects in the future. We conclude that researchers need to update emergency protocols, equip the lab with emergency generators, and prepare for emergency supplies, so that we can protect researchers, save data and minimize the delay in projects due to the hurricanes.

Learning Areas:
Basic medical science applied in public health
Environmental health sciences
Occupational health and safety
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Public health or related nursing

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe the effects of a hurricane on a biological lab (wet lab). 2. Discuss the ways to prepare a lab for a hurricane to prevent loss of samples or contamination of environment.

Keywords: Disasters, Research

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Not Answered