News & Updates

  • May 14 set for Emergency Preparedness Meeting

    April 16, 2019, 12:33 PM by Emergency Planning

    Join us for the 2019-2020 Annual Emergency Preparedness Meeting, on May 14. This year's meeting will feature several changes, starting with a new venue: the Levin Hall Dining Room on the Galveston Campus. Box lunches will be available, but on-site seating is limited to 200 and RSVPs are required. RSVP by May 10 to Amanda Simpson at events@utmb.edu or (409) 747-6735. 

    11:30: Lunch served
    Noon: Program begins 

    Storms and other emergencies can happen at any time and can affect every part of the state where UTMB has operations. The meeting will include general information for any emergency and feature an overview of UTMB’s emergency response plan.

    The meeting will be live-streamed; more details to come. It will also be recorded for viewing later. Check this web site for additional details. 

  • UTMB's Response to an External Disaster

    April 16, 2019, 12:04 PM by Emergency Planning

    UTMB has an external disaster plan related to treating patients that may be a victims of a disaster in the community. The external disaster plan is stored on iSpace as an annex of the Emergency Operations Plan. If institutional support is required, the Emergency Department may request activation of the UTMB Institutional Command Center and incident command by contacting the Health System Administrator On-Call.

    UTMB uses the Hospital Incident Command System to respond to emergencies (http://www.emsa.ca.gov/hics/).

    You can take free online courses on the incident command system at http://training.fema.gov/IS/NIMS.asp

  • Satellite image of Hurricane Harvey from NOAA

    Prioritized Risks for 2019

    April 11, 2019, 15:29 PM by Emergency Planning

    Risk assessment is part of the emergency planning process. Annually, a review is conducted of potential risks, the risks are prioritized based on threat posed and likeliness to occur, and that list is presented to UTMB's president for review and adoption. The 2019-2020 list is below:

    1. Weather
      • Hurricane Flooding
      • Hurricane Wind
      • Extreme Heat
      • Water Shortage / Outage
      • Lightning
    2. Utilities Outage / Gas Pipeline Risk
    3. Disease Outbreak (including Ebola or novel High Consequence Infectious Disease)
    4. Mass Casualty (e.g. Terrorism (Complex Coordinated Attacks) / Active Shooter / HF or other Chemical Mass Casualty Incident)
    5. Cyber-Threats
    6. Fire

    Since hurricane flooding is our major risk, the majority of preparedness and mitigation efforts are directed at that risk.

    • UTMB conducts a minimum of two exercises a year to test our capability to respond to emergencies:
      • A mass casualty incident exercise
      • A community response partners exercise
    • For business occupancies or clinic sites that are not part of the community’s emergency response plan (the clinic is not able to receive disaster patients) – a minimum of one exercise is required
    • Clinic sites geographically separated from the Galveston Campus should conduct their own hazard vulnerability assessment (though groups of clinics in geographic proximity may aggregate HVAs as long as they share a similar risk profile.
    • Exercises at clinic sites should address their highest priority risks
  • A dozen things to know about Emergency Management

    April 11, 2019, 15:29 PM by Emergency Planning
    1. Each healthcare area (all areas) should have a copy of the Emergency Procedures Manual and all employees should know where it is located.
    2. A copy of the Institutional Emergency Operations Plan and all major emergency planning documents are online (currently in iSpace, accessible via web) and all staff with a valid UTMB network password have access. The Emergency Operations Plan applies to all UTMB facilities including clinic sites.
    3. For internal disasters such as a bomb threat, staff should review the emergency preparedness plan for specific instructions. Staff should call police for any threat to security or safety. Police will respond and provide incident-specific direction.
    4. A number of Incident Specific Response Guides (IRGs) are included as annexes to the Emergency Operations Plans, to aid the incident command.
    5. Under the Incident Command System, the first to arrive on scene or to become aware of the incident is the incident commander until relieved by a more experienced person. UTMB follows this principle.
    6. The institutional emergency preparedness officer (IEPO) at UTMB is Dr. Gulshan Sharma; Mike Mastrangelo is the program director for institutional preparedness and the manager is Fritz Kuelbler.
    7. For incidents or events where we have warning, such as a hurricane, the UTMB president will be incident commander unless he or she delegates that authority.
    8. All UTMB staff are required to have documented onboarding and annual emergency preparedness training. They should know their emergency role and to whom they would report in an emergency; all staff should meet with their supervisor each year to review these items. At this meeting you should fill out an Annual Acknowledgement form (required by UTMB policy).
    9. As part of the process, employee and students should review and update their emergency contact information in the UTMB Directory. This information is used to populate UTMB’s emergency notification system.
    10. For Licensed Independent Practitioners (LIPS): Managers must review LIPs’ emergency roles (and to whom the LIP would report in an emergency) at their annual review of emergency roles. UTMB's Annual Acknowledgement Form has specific entries to record information for these care providers. 
    11. In general: unless assigned a specific role in the Command Center; staff will perform their regular duties during emergencies – but may be assigned specific tasks based on the nature of the emergency.
    12. The Emergency Plan site also features information describing emergency preparedness steps to safeguard your home, family and pets. Because hurricanes are one of the region's highest priority risks, each employee should have an up-to-date family hurricane preparedness plan.
  • UTMB Emergency Planning Meeting 2018

    ARCHIVE: Annual emergency preparedness meeting for the UTMB community - April 25, 2018

    April 25, 2018, 15:46 PM by Emergency Plan Group

    June 1 brings the start of hurricane season and is a reminder to have emergency plans in place. Storms and other emergencies can happen at any time and can affect any part of the state where UTMB has operations. The April 25 meeting included general information of use in any emergency. 

    Everyone is encouraged to review this one-hour, concise overview of UTMB’s emergency response plan.

    Topics include:

    • How decisions are made in an emergency
    • The outlook for the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season
    • Your role and responsibilities as an employee or a student in an emergency 
    • Maintaining security in an emergency and how you can help
    • The business continuity planning process for fulfilling our mission in an emergency 
    • How UTMB will communicate with you before, during and after an emergency
    • Cyber-security
    • Stop the Bleed demonstration
    • Fire preparation and response  
  • ARCHIVE: 2018 Updates at a Glance

    April 25, 2018, 14:18 PM by Emergency Plan Group

    The updated UTMB Emergency Operations Plan (EOP) was approved by the Institutional Safety and Security Executive Committee on Dec. 21, 2017. The committee, chaired by UTMB’s president, Dr. David Callender, based updates on the annual program review. Key changes include:

    • UTMB adopted the language from Joint Commission “Integrated Emergency Management Program” to convey that the EOP is institutional in scope and applies to all campuses and locations.
    • The EOP now includes a process for requesting an ‘1135 Waiver’.
    • The ‘Scope’ section of the plan now refers to the inclusion of UTMB Continuity Plans which includes a Succession and Delegation of Authority Plan.
    • The Emergency Communications Plan is now incorporated by reference into the EOP.
    • Emergency training is now required for ALL STAFF (in accordance with new CMS/Joint Commission rules and standards).

    The calendar year 2018 Preparedness Program was also approved at that time.

  • ARCHIVE: Priority Risks 2018

    April 25, 2018, 13:09 PM by Emergency Plan Group
    Priority Risks

    Each year the UTMB President and the ISS Executive Committee formally adopt a list of Priority Risks for the institution. The implication of this is that in addition to our ALL-HAZARDS approach to emergency preparedness, we focus special attention on priority risk over time to increase preparedness through planning, risk mitigation, training, exercises, specific emergency supplies--and if appropriate, special contracts to address the risk. The ISS determines Priority Risks for the campuses. For clinic sites, clinic managers and staff as well as Ambulatory Services officials determine their priority risks specific to each location with the input of local officials.

    2018 Priority Risks are:

    1. Weather (Hurricane Flooding, Hurricane Wind, Extreme Heat, Water Shortage, Lightning)
    2. Utilities Outage / Gas Pipeline Risk / Water Main
    3. Disease Outbreak (including Ebola or novel High Consequence Infectious Disease)
    4. Mass Casualty (e.g. Terrorism / Active Shooter / HF or other Chemical Mass Casualty Incident / South Texas Nuclear)
    5. Cyber-Threats
    6. Fire

  • ARCHIVE: New Training Requirement for 2018

    April 25, 2018, 12:02 PM by Emergency Plan Group

    New CMS rules and Joint Commission standards require that ALL staff be provided emergency training when hired and annually thereafter on: the UTMB Emergency Operations Plan; UTMB Priority Risks; Emergency Communications. This training must be documented.

    UTMB accomplishes this through a variety of mechanisms including:

    • Web-based training after new-hire onboarding and annual compliance training
    • The Annual All-Hands Emergency Preparedness Briefing (live and web-based video)
    • Incident Command System training for designated staff members
    • Command Center position-specific and hazard-specific training for designated staff
    • Exercises
    • UTMB Webpage updates and social media posts
    • Cyber-security awareness efforts

    The primary method of training and documentation is through the UTMB Annual Acknowledgement Process (UTMB log in is required). 

    By UTMB policy every UTMB manager must meet with each employee prior to June 1 each year and discuss the employee’s emergency role(s). The manager should set expectations for fulfilling emergency obligations and how communications will take place for that department in emergencies. On completion of this discussion, both the manager and the employee fill out the online Annual Acknowledgement Form and attest that they have completed this process. The training should address the specific role or roles that the employee is expected to be able to perform (see sample roles below).

    The training must also include information on to whom the employee would report in an emergency. Unless the employee is specifically assigned to the UTMB Command Center, the employee would normally report to the manager. The manager should be specific in explaining the role(s) and offer the employee the opportunity to ask questions.

    Sample emergency roles:

    • Command Team Ride-out
    • Facilities Ride-out
    • Healthcare Shelter-in-Place
    • Evacuation Planning
    • Decontamination Team (Hospital Emergency Response Team)
    • HF Incident Care Team
    • Damage Assessment Team
    • Other duties as required by the department

    UTMB is in the process of developing a UTMB-specific Command Center Training Program; information will be posted as soon as it is available.

    Emergency Communications Plan

    This plan is updated annually and provides important contact information for agencies that support UTMB during emergencies (see partial list; additional information will be posted upon review.)

    UTMB Alerts – a key aspect of UTMB’s emergency communications plan is a mass notification system branded as “UTMB Alerts” UTMB officials will tailor emergency messages to the situation and can send notifications to all hands or to targeted groups. Individuals must keep their contact information up to date to receive these notifications. The most efficient method of communication is by text to a personal cell phone. See instructions for updating your contact information and your preferences for receiving messages (text messaging is recommended).

    Other methods of communications

    • Global messages
    • UTMB Social Media Channels including Facebook and Twitter
    • Departmental Continuity Plans (e.g. departmental call trees, etc.)
    • Radios:
      • UTMB has UHF Radios that can operate on the state’s trunked emergency communications system and can reach Houston and Austin.
      • UTMB also has a HAM/High Frequency radio capability and satellite phone capability to use as a backup when other systems fail
      • UTMB Police operate radios on Law Enforcement Channels
    • Network and Internet-based Communications

    The Intermedix applications WebEOC, EMTrack, and EMResource are the primary methods to communicate to other hospitals within our Healthcare Coalition and to the Catastrophic Medical Operations Center in Houston. Resource Requests during emergencies are sent via WebEOC