Columbus Hospital Learns Lessons From 2008 Flood


The flood wall that now surrounds the hospital also will limit future flood damage.

The limestone and brick wall, matching the hospital’s exterior, is built two feet above the 100-year flood level established by FEMA. Floodgates are located at each pedestrian and vehicle entrance.

Completed in April 2012, the $4.7 million wall was funded 75 percent by FEMA. The hospital paid the difference.

The flood gates were tested last May, and once a year will be inspected and cleaned, Lenart said.

Planning for disasters requires looking at various scenarios and preparing for a range of possibilities. What happened at CRH was one hospital officials had never considered.

Bickel said the single largest lesson he learned is that the hospital had to have a disaster plan.

The CEO can only smile now thinking how they originally set up a command post inside the hospital to handle the emergency.

Sonderman, the chief medical officer, said he is frequently asked to speak at other hospitals about disaster planning in light of his experience here.

“Probably every disaster-planning scenario I had taken part in in my professional career up to that point involved a mass casualty event where we took in a much greater number of patients,” Sonderman said. “Now the tables were turned.”

Instead of an influx of patients, CRH evacuated them.

Bickel and Sonderman said their experience instilled in them a much greater empathy for other communities going through disasters.

CRH employees themselves have been generous helping others, experiencing how difficult surviving a disaster can be.

The Indiana Hospital Association established an Employee Disaster Relief Fund in 2008 to assist employees who suffered losses in the 2008 flood. The fund continues today to help others who experience tragedies.

In 2011, CRH employees donated $8,781 to help victims of the southern Indiana tornadoes. CRH and its foundation both matched donations, resulting in a gift of $26,343.

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Posted by on Jul 1st, 2013 and filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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