Emergencies at MD Anderson are triaged based on the severity of an event and its affect on the health and safety of our patients, visitors and employees. Actions that occur at each severity level are summarized below. See additional information on severity level conditions involving hurricanes.
Normal Operations - (Open)
Actions: All managers and employees assigned responsibilities for emergency planning and implementation are required to assess, review and prepare plans to ensure a constant state of readiness.
Effects: No effects or emergency condition.
Example Conditions: Continuing activity throughout the year.
Severity Level 1 - (Open)
Actions: Localized actions may be required (Facilities Management only); actions may be restricted to an area, department, or group. Actions may require use of departmental Emergency and Continuity Plan.
Effects: There is no significant effect. No disruption of function or no major impact to patient care. Very little damage. No apparent threat to personnel or patient safety.
Example Conditions: Utility or service failure (minor impact or service interruption) restricted to one building or area, severe tropical storm, or weather watch/warning. For Hurricanes – Hurricane enters the Gulf of Mexico.
Severity Level 2 -(Open)
Actions: MD Anderson will be open for all business operations, including patient appointments; Clinics assess patient appointments if needed. All employees will report to duty as scheduled. Notification will be made to appropriate management and Emergency Plan Officers (EPOs). The RING Line 713-792-RING (2-7464) and Emergency Alert site (http://www3.mdanderson.org/emergencyalert) will be updated, Departments review their departmental Emergency and Continuity Plan and activate, if necessary. Hurricane Ride Out Team members may be released to go home to secure personal property if escalating for a hurricane.
Effects: Modification of operations may be necessary, but patient care can be maintained. One major function may be disrupted, but effect is anticipated to be temporary. If travel to and from work is impacted, the need to assess staffing and schedules may be necessary to address key functions. Potential threat to personnel or patient safety may exist in limited areas.
Example Conditions: Any weather condition that may impact travel to and from work. Winter weather, freezing, and ice conditions. Minor flooding. Confirmed fire or smoke – impact limited to one department or area. Hazardous substance release – impact limited to one department or area. Utility failure – impact limited to one department or area. High probability of hurricane, tropical storm, or other severe weather. For Hurricanes – Hurricane Watch for Texas-Louisiana is issued and hurricane landfall is 48 hours out.
Severity Level 3 - (Open)
Actions: The Incident Command Center will be activated. The Incident Command Center or Executive Leadership determines if normal operations are modified or suspended.
If the Incident Command Center or Executive Leadership declares a ride-out status (hurricanes only), all employees not on the Ride Out Team may be released from duty or not report for duty. Notification will be made to appropriate management and EPOs. The RING Line 713-792-7464 (2-RING) and Emergency Alert site will be updated.
Effects: Ability to carry on normal patient care may be restricted. One or more major functions may be severely disrupted. Minimization of operations and staffing may be necessary depending on the type of emergency.
Example Conditions: Any weather condition that may impact travel to and from work. Winter weather, freezing, and ice conditions. Major flooding. Major fire. Substantiated threat or event (involving terrorism, etc.) For Hurricanes – Hurricane warning for the upper Texas coast and hurricane landfall is 36 hours out.
Severity Level 4 - (Closed/Inpatient operations only)
Actions: All patient appointments and surgeries are cancelled. Typically, this level is only necessary during a hurricane or severe emergency conditions. Incident Command Center is activated and in-charge of all operations. Patient Care is limited to maintaining care for inpatients. Notification is made to the appropriate management and the EPOs. The RING Line, 713-792-7464 (2-RING), is updated. For Hurricanes Only: All employees not on the Ride Out Teams are released from duty when the Ride Out Teams have taken over the operations of the institution. All off-site buildings are closed.
Effects: Patient Care is limited to provision of care to inpatients. Severe damage to facilities/utilities. Dire threat to personnel or patient safety may exist. Institution under a complete lock-down.
Example Conditions: Major fire. Major structural damage or failure. Hurricane threatening Houston area. Severe emergency conditions, event involving terrorism. Hurricane landfall in Houston/Galveston area.
Recovery - (Closed/Inpatient operations only)
Actions: Incident Commander declares the emergency over and declares the start of Recovery operations. Ride Out Teams are released from duty once Recovery Teams return / report to the institution (hurricanes only). Departments activate their business continuity processes and conduct a needs assessment for their area for return to Normal Operations. Staff is assigned to different recovery activities.
Effects: Patient Care is limited to provision of care to inpatients only with a phased approach to opening outpatient clinics. Building openings are prioritized by Facilities based on impact to the buildings and infrastructure.
Example Conditions: Post-storm re-opening of outpatient clinics and centers, re-opening of all buildings.
Institutional severity levels differ from the severity levels of the City of Houston, Harris County and other hospitals in the Texas Medical Center. The Incident Command Officers monitor all government severity levels and decisions when evaluating our status.
Call the RING Line for updates on the institution’s operational status during an emergency. It is updated at 5:00 a.m., 1:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. during active Severity Levels 2, 3 and 4.
In an emergency, the RING Line provides operational status updates via the main recording and instructions for professional disciplines using these sub-command options*:
1 - Facilities
2 - Nursing
3 - Clinical Operations
4 - Medical Staffing
5 - Administrative Services
6 - Research
7 - Veterinary Medicine
8 - Surgery
9 - Houston Area Locations
0 - Additional Options:
- Radiation Oncology
- Diagnostic Imaging
- Pathology and Lab Medicine
Smithville and Bastrop Campus RING Line:
Option 1: Bastrop
Option 2: Smithville
*You’ll be prompted to press the number associated with your area of interest.