WakeMed Inclement Weather Employee Communication Guidelines Frequently Asked Questions With Answers 1. What is the WakeMed Inclement Weather Response Plan? As WakeMed provides essential healthcare services to the community, it has the responsibility to continue operations during severe weather conditions. This plan provides guidance for effective planning in response to these inclement weather conditions. The plan specifies actions that need to be taken for al phases of the event – preseason, watch, warning, storm, recovery and the termination of the plan. It gives guidelines for administration, department leadership and personal preparedness. 2. What are the WakeMed Weather Teams? All employees are divided into two teams. Active Team (Team A): Employees, who are assigned by their supervisor to be a member of this team, have jobs that must continue during all the response phases of the inclement weather event. Employees in these positions are required to report to work at their assigned time. Transportation services and sleeping accommodations will be offered to members of this team if it is anticipated that road conditions will be very hazardous. Reserve Team (Team R): Employees, who are assigned by their supervisor to be a member of this team, have jobs that can be delayed until the emergency conditions have passed. Employees on this team do not report to or remain at work during the severe weather. However, employees on this team are to be in contact with their supervisor and must be prepared to become a member of the Active Team, if their supervisor asks them to do so. 3. Will WakeMed call the Inclement Weather Plan when the other hospitals do so? More than likely, the answer to this is “yes”. The WakeMed plan allows for multiple phases of activation. 4. What is the WakeMed Employee Inclement Weather Personal Preparedness Checklist? This checklist is available on the Environmental Health and Safety page of the WakeMed intranet to help you get ready for the event. The checklist tells you how to get your home and car prepared and what you need to do to prepare for work. If you need help in getting the list, please contact your supervisor. 5. What are the Inclement Weather Safety Tips? The safety of you and your family is very important. This checklist is available from your supervisor and on the Environmental Health and Safety page of the WakeMed intranet to give you information on important safety measures. As many of you also have pets, there is also information on pet safety during these events. 6. Who decides to activate the WakeMed Inclement Weather Plan? The Chief Operating Officer or in his absence, the Administrator on call will activate the plan. The decision is based on predicted weather information. 7. When is the WakeMed Inclement Weather Response Plan activated? When the weather is predicted to be severe and it appears that it will significantly disrupt the normal operations in the hospital. 8. Who is in charge of the response when the plan is activated? The Chief Operating Officer will appoint an individual to serve as the Emergency Incident Commander. 9. What is the Hospital Emergency Operations Center? The Hospital Emergency Operations Center will be set up, both at the Raleigh and the Cary campus. Key individuals will serve in these centers and will assist the Incident Commander with the tasks that cannot be managed through normal means. For example, they will organize the sleeping, childcare and transportation arrangements. 10. What is the WakeMed Employee Alert Line? This is the telephone number that you will call to get general information about the WakeMed changes in operations that are made in response to the weather. The number is 350-5050. 11. What is the Disaster Department Communication Line? This is a telephone number in your department that will have department specific instructions for you. Please talk to your supervisor to get this number and call the number on a regular basis throughout the storm. 12. How do I know if I am supposed to come to work during periods of inclement weather? You need to first determine the status of the WakeMed weather plan by calling the number given to you by your manager; it will provide department specific information for you. If you are considered essential personnel and have been assigned to the Active Team (Team A) and you are scheduled to work, you are expected to be there so that patient care is not interrupted. Unless your supervisor has scheduled another staff person to work in your place, you are expected to arrive by the start of your shift. There may be events that result in the loss of telephone service. If you are unable to communicate with WakeMed, you need to report to work as scheduled. 13. How do I know if I am considered essential personnel (Team A)? Your supervisor will inform you of your status; if you do not know your status, please discuss this with your supervisor. It is important to recognize that it is not just the clinical and support staff that is essential. Many administrative staff is also considered essential personnel. Do not assume you are not essential. Active Team (Team A) employees are those considered essential; Reserve Team (Team R) generally are not expected to work during periods when the Inclement Weather Plan is activated, however if given appropriate notice and asked to work by their supervisor, these employee need to be prepared to do so. 14. What are my options if I cannot drive or do not have transportation during inclement weather or if I try to get to work and then can’t make it due to weather conditions or having an accident? Usually WakeMed is aware of predicted severe weather conditions far enough in advance to plan. Employees are generally offered accommodations at or nearby by the facility where they work and are provided transportation to and from the accommodations. Employees are strongly encouraged to accept the accommodations offer and not try to travel if they are not certain they have transportation that is completely reliable all the time. Accommodations may not be an option at all facilities; at those facilities your supervisor will discuss expectations of attendance and travel in advance of actual weather conditions. If you are not at a facility where accommodations can be provided or you choose to not accept accommodations, you may develop transportation options within your department. Many departments rely on a few of the staff members who have 4x4 vehicles to transport staff. This works particularly well at the smaller facilities where accommodations are not readily available. We would prefer that staff accept accommodations rather than risk injury or absence due to weather conditions. 15. If I have transportation, but the news reports that travelers will be fined if they are on the roads, what should I do? You need to come to work. Hospital employees and their drivers are exempt from those fines because it is understood that staffing is essential for patient care. If pulled by an officer, just show your WakeMed identification badge and explain that you work at WakeMed and you are on your way to or from work. 16. Will WakeMed pick me up and take me home? Generally no. It will be the general practice to house employees close to or inside The facility where they work. Only in extreme weather situations that exceed normal durations of 2 –3 days will the hospitals implement home pick-ups. 17. If I can find someone to work for me, do I still have to come to work? You need to check with your supervisor. It may be that the alternate person is needed to work elsewhere in the department or facility and you may still be needed. 18. What happens if I am sick the day I am supposed to work and cannot work? These situations will be handled on a case by case basis, taking multiple factors into consideration such as your performance and attendance history, your attendance during prior inclement weather periods, your flexibility and willingness to work additional shifts when requested in the past, the extent of your illness, whether the illness is related to a Family Medical Leave Act covered condition, etc. 19. Will I be provided additional compensation for working during inclement weather situations? You will not. Fortunately, the Triangle area does not experience a great number of weather conditions that make traveling difficult. Because of this, we believe if we all pull together and everyone assumes their share of the responsibilities, we can provide care for the WakeMed patients without putting significant undue hardship on anyone. 20. Will I receive PDO payment if I am expected to work and do not? If you have been offered accommodations or transportation and refused it, then you will not be paid PDO for the shift; you are also subject to disciplinary action. While this may seem harsh, it is essential that we have staff available to provide safe, quality patient care. 21. If I come to work early, can I clock-in and begin working? You will need to get permission from your supervisor, but in many cases, work will be available for you prior to the start of your shift either in your department or somewhere else in the organization. 22. How will I know when to start planning for inclement weather and what should I do? You should determine a plan in advance of weather conditions occurring so that you are prepared when the time arrives. Whenever the news predicts inclement weather, you should begin putting your plan into action. At WakeMed, your department will receive department notifications from Public Relations that will be shared with staff. You need to review the WakeMed Inclement Weather Plan that is specific to the event, your Department’s Weather Plan and also refer to the Personal Preparedness Checklist. This preparation will help you be ready when weather conditions decline. 23. If my department closes, can I work at another facility? Notify your supervisor and s/he will notify the staffing offices and Hospital Emergency Operations Center. You will be notified if you are needed to work elsewhere. 24. If I am late getting to work, will it count against me? Not if you get there within a reasonable time. It is understood that weather conditions may make travel slow. You are encouraged to start early so that you have extra time to travel even if someone else, such as Campus Police, is transporting you. 25. Do I have to stay on the job until my replacement arrives? Yes, unless your supervisor approves otherwise. 26. How do I arrange accommodations and transportation to/from the accommodations? You will need to inform your supervisor if you would like accommodations and the associated transportation. At the Raleigh and Cary campuses your supervisor will compile a list and will email it to the Hospital Emergency Operations Center. Staff there will assign accommodations, both inside and outside the facility. At the Raleigh campus, please go to the Hospital Emergency Operations Center to get your room assignment. At the Cary Hospital, please call your supervisor to get your room assignment. At the other WakeMed facilities, your supervisor will arrange accommodations if space is available in the facility. 27. What happens if I am offered accommodations or transportation and I refuse it? If you are scheduled, it is your responsibility to arrive by the start of your shift. Team A staff, which do not work, are subject to disciplinary action because it is essential that we have staff to care for patients, who must be our priority. You are strongly encouraged to accept accommodations to make sure that you are able to work. Weather and road conditions may prohibit even the best drivers from traveling. 28. If offered hotel accommodations, can I have a private room? Most likely, you will be expected to share a room. If there are enough rooms available to accommodate a request, you may request a private room and pay the additional half for each day. 29. Are provisions made for childcare at WakeMed during periods of inclement weather? Kidworks opens the facility in or near the WakeMed Raleigh campus and accepts children up to age 17. To register your child for that service, you must call the number provided at the time of inclement weather planning prior to bringing your child for care. Generally, the number will be: 350-4141. Cary Hospital will determine if there is a need to implement childcare and will take actions based on management’s assessment of the requests. The location of services will be provided at the time of planning also; and may vary depending on weather conditions. Generally, if the event occurs on a weekend, childcare will not be offered. 30. Can I bring my family to stay at the hotel with me? You may choose to bring your family to stay with you at the hotel. You will need to request a private room from your supervisor who will then make the request to the HEOC. You will be responsible for half of the total charge for the accommodations. 31. Can I bring my pets to stay at the hotel with me? Pets are not allowed at the hotels that WakeMed utilizes for sleeping accommodations. Therefore, employees will need to make separate arrangements. 32. Can I request a smoking room at the hotel? Yes, you may request it, but we cannot guarantee that one will be available. 33. Can I request with whom I share a room? You may request your preference in roommates. Your supervisor will provide the request to the Hospital Emergency Operations Center. All efforts will be made to accommodate the request, however, there may be circumstances where the request cannot be accommodated. 34. Can my family sleep at the hospital? No, unfortunately WakeMed is not prepared to house families. If hotel accommodations are offered, you may request a private room and pay the difference for your family. 35. What should I do if I schedule sleeping accommodations and then do not need them? Notify your supervisor; s/he will notify the Hospital Emergency Operations Center. 36. Who is responsible if the room I stay in is damaged? The occupants of the room are responsible for payment of the damage. 37. If I am on-call and accept accommodations at a hotel, will there be transportation 24 hours/day? Yes, shuttles will run consistently between hotels and the facility. Note: At the Cary Hospital, the hotels that Cary Hospital utilizes are within walking distance of the hotel. Please call 350- 2000 in Cary to make reservations for transportation. 38. Can WakeMed transport my child with me to and from the hotel accommodations? No. WakeMed cannot assume the liability and responsibility for transporting children, especially during hazardous driving conditions. Your child’s safety is very important to us and we would not want to compromise that in any way. Your child may spend the day/night in the Kidworks operation located at the hospital. 39. Can I stay with my child in the childcare operations center? No, unfortunately we will not have space to accommodate parents spending the night with their children. 40. If given the option of volunteering to transport employees and I choose to do so, who covers the associated costs? In situations where WakeMed asks for volunteer drivers, WakeMed will reimburse the employee for mileage and also pay the employee’s hourly rate for the time spent transporting staff. In the event of an accident, the employee does need to understand that his/her insurance is primary and thus pays first for damages. 41. If I find a room in the hospital that is empty, can I just sleep there? No, as patients may be assigned to that room. All sleeping accommodations will be assigned by the Hospital Emergency Operations Center to maintain tracking for all employees for safety reasons. It is also important to make sure that sleeping spaces in-house are cleaned and prepared accordingly. 42. If I am assigned to stay in the WakeMed facility, where can I shower? At the Raleigh campus, the Healthworks facilities will be available or you may use a private patient room if you are assigned to one for accommodations. At other campuses, showers will be designated for staff. 43. Will WakeMed cover my food expenses? Generally the answer is “no”. If weather conditions continue for an extended period of time, that decision will be reevaluated. You are encouraged to bring extra money or nonperishable food with you. 44. What happens if I finish my shift, am released from duty, do not have to work for a few more days, but cannot get home? You will be offered accommodations at your facility or at another facility that is close to the one where you are working.
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