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Rogers Outage no sweat for Southlake thanks to Emergency Preparedness

Friday July 15, 2022

Southlake was not spared from the Rogers Wireless outage that impacted the entire nation last Friday. Thankfully for our patients and the communities who rely on our care, Southlake has a robust emergency preparedness plan enabling us to quickly come together to manage hospital operations through the outage.

Shortly after the outage was realized, a Code Grey, which is called if the hospital experiences loss of utilities such as telecommunications, was called and Southlake’s Emergency Operations Centre was activated to mitigate risks. Thankfully for staff and leaders, a Code Grey drill had just been practiced last month as part of Southlake’s ongoing emergency preparedness planning, so the key staff involved were well prepared to respond to the crisis.

“Our team quickly mobilized to set up our Emergency Operations Centre shortly after the Code Grey was called,” notes Stephen Trafford, Manager, Emergency and Disaster Preparedness. “Representatives from all areas of the hospital came together to work through the Code Grey and identify next steps.”

Hospital operations were not directly affected by the Rogers outage and Southlake was still able to provide high level care. However, other auxiliary functions, including some telecommunications, electronic referrals, and access to web-based supports that allow staff to order supplies and review provincially available information systems were unavailable.

Members of the hospital’s clinical and non-clinical leadership were on-site all-day and night in the Emergency Operations Centre to support staff and hospital operations through this crisis.

“Emergency preparedness isn’t about creating just a checklist of what to do in an emergency situation,” says Trafford. “It’s about giving our staff the tools and processes needed to understand the impacts and make an informed decision based on the crisis, that will provide the best outcomes.”

Southlake’s Emergency Operations Centre allowed for an environment of collaborative decisions, where staff came together to identify challenges, develop solutions and implement them hospital wide.

“At Southlake, my mission is to integrate emergency preparedness into the cultural fabric of Southlake to foster resilience in our staff, systems, services and empower people to overcome adversity in the face of events that threaten to disrupt the continuity of care.”

Thank you to all our staff for handling this outage with grace and ensuring that our patients’ care remained the top priority.