With Hurricane Sandy all over the news reports since Thursday of last week, New Yorkers were glued to their TVs, iPhones, radios and other media for weather reports and announcements from the Mayor and Governor as the storm made its way up the East Coast and inland.
On Saturday, VA New York Harbor Healthcare System decided to close all clinics and CBOCs scheduled for Monday. But on Sunday, October 28, the decision had been made to evacuate the Manhattan campus, well before Sandy made landfall.
The Manhattan facility is in the flood zone. The facility was evacuated to ensure the safety of patients throughout the storm. Patients were transferred to neighboring VA hospitals, including the Brooklyn and Bronx VA facilities.
"The safety of our patients is our top priority," said Martina A. Parauda, Director of VA New York Harbor Healthcare System, on Sunday from the hospital's Incident Command Center, which managed the evacuation. "With uncertainty about what the storm’s impact will be, we feel that it is of critical importance to move our patients to care environments outside of the flood zone."
Over 100 patients were transferred out of the facility without incident, most of who were escorted by a member of their care team or met later by a familiar face.
Evacuation is not new to the staff at NY Harbor. The VA medical center in Manhattan was evacuated just over a year ago during Hurricane Irene.