Healthcare Facilities depend on medical devices to treat their patients and keep them alive, and when the functioning of the device is compromised, they must know what to do. Hurricane season begins on June 1st and the chance of medical device damage or misuse increases in these adverse conditions.

The FDA issued a safety guide to help medical device users in case of a hurricane or other extreme weather event:

http://www.fda.gov/medicaldevices/safety/emergencysituations/ucm055987.htm

What should you do in the case of a hurricane?

The FDA makes the following recommendations:

 

Medical Device Safety

General advice:

Keep device and supplies dry and clean, off the ground and away from animals or crowds.

Notify the Public Health Authority to request evacuation early if your life depends on the device.

Maintain device in well-lit area, using lights powered by battery rather than a gas light source.

If a device appears to be damaged or if another one is needed, contact the distributor or manufacturer.

Check power cords to make sure not damaged by water and if they are, turn off power at main breaker.

 

In the case of a power outage:

Notify your electric company and fire department that your device needs power.

Find out if your device can use batteries or generator.

Make sure to check for water before plugging the device in.

Make sure that the settings on medical device have not changed when power is restored.

 

In the case of water contamination:

Know if your device requires safe water for maintenance or use, for example dialyzers or IV pumps.

Use bottled, boiled or treated water if you suspect or learn that the hurricane has contaminated the water supply.

 

In the case of heat and humidity:

Know if these conditions affect the functioning of your medical device.

Use preventative measures, like wiping it off with dry cloth, keeping out of direct sunlight, enclosing it in a plastic container.

 

Learn more from the FDA on medical device safety during hurricanes and extreme weather at the following links:

http://www.fda.gov/medicaldevices/safety/emergencysituations/ucm055987.htm

http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2013-02-21/html/2013-03993.htm

 

Medical facilities, contact Health Engineering Service Solutions at 718-414-5555 about medical equipment inspections.