South Georgia Medical Center announced today the activation of its Emergency Operations Plan in anticipation of Hurricane Irma. The plan includes disaster mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery. SGMC will be receiving patients during and after the storm. Preparedness activities ensure continuity of care for both patients, providers and support staff.SGMC has received additional shipments of fuel for its generators, food, medicines and supplies that will be needed for the first 96-hours after the storm’s onset. SGMC requests that its Main Emergency Room be used only for serious emergencies. Inpatient care will continue at all SGMC facilities including the Langdale Hospice House. Many business occupancies, such as the Wound Healing Center and Diabetes Management Center, will be closed on Monday. The SGMC Berrien and Lanier Campuses will be open. To help manage any minor injuries that may occur as a result of the storm, SGMC’s Urgent Care (at the Outpatient Plaza at 4280 North Valdosta Road) will be open 24-hours a day starting Sunday at noon through Tuesday noon, or longer if needed. Youth Care will be open its regular Sunday hours of 9:30am to 4:30pm, and M-F 5:30pm to 8:30pm.“We are preparing for a severe event,” said Chief of Staff Alexander Culbreth, MD. “We are canceling elective surgical procedures on Monday to devote the full resources of the medical center to the potential care of the injured and those being evacuated from hard-hit areas. We have asked members of the medical staff to volunteer to take additional patients as needed.” According to CEO Ross Berry, SGMC has an active emergency operations plan that is reviewed and exercised monthly through SGMC’s Emergency Management Action Team. Bill Forbes, SGMC Chief Development Officer oversees the Environment of Care Committee that reports up to the Hospital Authority.“The team looks at six critical areas of operations: communication, resources and assets, safety and security, staff responsibilities, utilities management and patient clinical and support activities,” he said. “The EOP is coordinated with various county emergency management agencies, such as law enforcement and public health, to ensure that SGMC’s emergency operations are consistent with other first responders.” Forbes also explained that in addition to heavy-duty diesel generators, SGMC is supplied electricity through two separate feed lines from Georgia Power. He said, “This improves the likelihood of the main hospital’s power supply being uninterrupted.”Berry concluded by saying that the community should rest assured that SGMC is as prepared as it can be given the uncertainty of the storm. “Our communication with area partners is almost constant, Berry said. “Our public information office will be communicating news in real-time as it happens.”SGMC will be in close contact with the Lowndes Emergency Operations Center and will open its own Incident Command Center to monitor and direct activities on Sunday. Important Note: Hospitals are not shelter sites. Individuals seeking shelter are directed to refer to their county’s emergency management agency shelter locations for directions and information.