Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center - Houston, Texas

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Hurricane Ike Daily Update: Sunday, September 14, 2008, 10 a.m.

September 14, 2008

  1. MEDVAMC is fully functional and attempting to resume normal operations.  Staff should report to duty as scheduled.  If you cannot report, you should contact your supervisor or the VA Employee Hotline by calling 1-866-233-0152.  You are required to check in with your status, location, and contact information.  Operators are available 24 hours, seven days a week until further notice.  You may call as soon as you have contact information available or within 48 hours of the hurricane.
  2. Because Houston Emergency Management Officials believe travel is dangerous at this time due to flash flooding, power outages, and downed trees/power lines, the MEDVAMC strongly encourages patients or staff to exercise extreme caution when traveling.  Staff should be aware of any curfews enforced by the City of Houston and surrounding communities.  Veterans with life-threatening emergencies should immediately call 911. 
  3. Staff who are ending their shifts today, may leave the facility with approval from their supervisor.  All staff and family members are required to check out at the Main Lobby.  Family members must return identification badges when checking out.
  4. Individuals who have experienced damage to their vehicle on the VA complex during the hurricane, should file a report with the VA Police.  VA Police are located in the Main Lobby to assist in this process.
  5. The outpatient clinics in Galveston, Texas City, Conroe, Beaumont and Lufkin are all without power and will not be open on Monday.
  6. Emergency officials have recommended that citizens residing in mandatory evacuation  zones boil their water until further notice.  The MEDVAMC is not affected by this order.  The water is safe to drink.
  7. The VA Canteen is open, but operating with limited hours and staff.  On-duty employees have priority for food service. Family members should not rely on the VA Canteen for meals. Lunch and dinner will be served 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.  You should expect long lines and exercise patience.
  8. Arrangements are being made so the Daycare Center is available 24 hours a day for children of on-duty employees.  This service is being made available so staff may return to work.
  9. The Pet Center is being phased out.  Please walk, feed and water your pets on a regular basis. 
  10. It is mandatory for all MEDVAMC employees to wear their VA identification badges and family members to wear their identification badges at all times. Individuals not wearing identification and unattended children will be detained by the VA Police.
  11. On-duty staff members, who have been unable to contact family members may contact the Emergency Operations Center at (713) 794-7483 for assistance.
  12. During the next few days, the MEDVAMC will keep you updated on personnel, patient, weather, and facility issues as information becomes available. Information is also available by calling the MEDVAMC Automated Information Line at (713) 794-8989 or 1-800-553-2278, ext. 8989 or visiting the MEDVAMC Web site, www.houston.va.gov.
  13. Veterans who need medical advice should call the VA Network Telecare Center Hotline at (713) 794-8985 or toll-free 1-800-639-5137. Registered nurses, pharmacists, and administrative clerks are ready to answer veteran health care questions 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The VA Network Telecare Center is not for life-threatening emergencies. Veterans with life-threatening emergencies should immediately call 911.
  14. Evacuated veterans with urgent care needs requiring continuing care may contact any VA facility by dialing 1-800-507-4571.  This phone number may also be used by families and friends requiring information about patients from those VA facilities affected by natural and man-made disasters.  Veterans may call with questions such as where to access health care, how to receive their prescription drugs, or any other concerns they may have about their care.
  15. FEMA announced that assistance will be available to victims of Hurricane Ike.  Applicants must call the FEMA hotline number at 1-800-621-3362 or contact FEMA through their web page at www.fema.org * in order to apply.  Three types of assistance will be available: rent assistance for temporary housing; financial assistance for home repairs and other needs assistance (i.e., medical expenses, dental expenses, personal property damage, and transportation assistance).  Maximum benefit allowed will be $28,800.
  16. Due to continuing unsafe road conditions, METRO has cancelled service for Sunday, September 14, 2008.  While every effort will be made to implement service as quickly as possible, the safety of METRO's passengers and operators will remain paramount.  METRO is continuing to aid evacuation efforts in the area.
  17. If you need a Red Cross shelter, call 1-800-433-2767.
  18. For information on road conditions, visit www.txdot.gov * or call 1-800-452-9292.
Incident Commander 713.794.7262
Planning 713.794.7298/7428
Operations 713.794.7371
Public Affairs 713.794.7490
Patient Information 713.794.8736
Social Work 713.794.8553
Safety 713.794.7483
Police 713.794.8406
Finance 713.794.7598
Logistics 713.794.8554
Emergency Mgr Coordinator 713.794.8994

* This link will take you outside of the Department of Veterans Affairs Web site and will open in a new window. VA does not endorse and is not responsible for the content of linked Web sites.