OEM to Conduct NYC Hurricane Evacuation Study (HES)

Karen Morris and Shelley Sabo in Clinical & Quality

OEM has asked for our assistance is circulating the following informational letter to NYC SNFs and ACFs regarding a Hurricane Evacuation Study (HES) they will be conducting over the next several months. This study is being conducted by OEM and the US Army Corps of Engineers and will provide information critical to preparation, response and recovery at a facility and system level. We encourage all facilities to participate in the study and respond to requests for information in a timely manner. Thank you.

Dear Facility Administrator,

The NYC Office of Emergency Management is working with the US Army Corps of Engineers to update the City's Hurricane Evacuation Study (HES). The HES is a national standard for hurricane evacuation planning used across the country, and forms the basis of the City's Coastal Storm Plan including how many people will evacuate, how long evacuations will take, and when to issue evacuation orders. The 2014 revision will include an analysis of healthcare facility (HCF) evacuations, which has never before been included. The aim of the HCF evacuation analysis is to improve understanding of the timing requirements and logistical constraints for HCF evacuations based on real-life experience. The scope of the analysis includes all hospitals, nursing homes, adult care facilities and psychiatric facilities in the City's designated coastal storm evacuation zones.

There will be two significant opportunities to help the City with this effort by providing information about your facility and how it has and would be affected by hurricane evacuations. An evacuation survey is being developed with the New York State Department of Health that will be released through the Health Commerce System early next week. We encourage you to fill out this survey to the best of your ability. Additionally, the consultants working on this project will be reaching out to select facilities located in evacuation zones between mid-April and mid-May to gather additional information to be used in the study analysis. We will provide more information about this part of the study in a few weeks.

In order to limit the burden on facilities and to conduct the study as efficiently as possible, NYC DOHMH will be providing data previously collected as part of the fall 2012 and 2013 Coastal Storm Planning assessment processes to NYC OEM, the Army Corp and its contractors for the sole and limited purpose of informing the Hurricane Evacuation Study. If your facility does NOT want their data shared, please contact New York City OEM by calling Andrew Mark at 718-422-4818 or email healthmedical@oem.nyc.gov. Please note that the sharing of this data for the purposes of this study, is beneficial to all of us during a response, and facility specific data will be aggregated for the purpose of this survey. Provision of these data is in keeping with the defined original purposes which include City and State evacuation and shelter in place (SIP) decision making, for inter-facility planning, and for facility-level mitigation strategies. Specific healthcare facility information will not be disclosed as part of the study. Information in the aggregate will be used to inform overall operational timelines and planning assumptions as it relates to the New York City Coastal Storm Plan.

Additional information about the Hurricane Evacuation Study can be found in the attached document. If you have questions about the study you may contact Andrew Mark at the number above or email healthmedical@oem.nyc.gov.

This study will provide information critical to preparation, response and recovery at a facility and system level. We appreciate your participation and support, and are excited to share the results of this important endeavor with you.

Jenna Mandel-Ricci

Jenna Mandel-Ricci
Executive Director, Bureau of Healthcare Systems Readiness
Office of Emergency Preparedness and Response
NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
(347) 396-4543


NYSHFA contacts: 

Karen Morris
Director, Clinical & Quality Services
518-462-4800 ext 15


Shelley Sabo
Executive Director, NYSCAL
518-462-4800 ext 17