Unfortunately, health care emergencies don’t wait out a storm. High stress, high risk, high stakes. Community Health Centers like Robeson Health Care Corporation (RHCC) can’t afford to suspend business when their patients' lives are at stake. This is the story of Net Friends and how we helped RHCC prepare for and recover from Hurricane Florence.
⚠️ THE PROBLEM:
RHCC must vacate their office immediately following Hurricane Florence.
🏆 THE MISSION:
Relocate and restore RHCC systems immediately.
🚧 THE CHALLENGE:
Hurricane Florence has caused many road closures throughout North Carolina, making travel dangerous and challenging.
RHCC has seven health centers in Columbus, Robeson, Scotland, and Montgomery counties. They care deeply about their patients and what they do. They save lives. Net Friends serves as RHCC’s primary technology help center.
The Story + The Situation
Hurricane Florence is bearing down on North Carolina, and people are starting to panic. She’s shaping up to be a monster storm. Why are we worried about Hurricane Florence? With RHCC’s corporate office only 1.2 miles from the Lumber River, Hurricane Florence poses an enormous risk.
We’ve actually been in this situation before, and we have experience under our belt. Two years ago, Hurricane Matthew hit the Maxton area hard and Net Friends was prepared and able to get RHCC back up and running days before any other health center in the area.
Now, with Florence on her way, Net Friends and RHCC are prepared.
We’ve put an action plan in place.
All systems are good.
Ahead of Florence’s landfall, Net Friends holds a meeting and coordinates efforts to ensure that RHCC, their technology, and their data stay safe before, during, and after the storm. We send an Expert onsite to meet with the RHCC executive team to discuss Hurricane preparation plans to ensure that all their data is backed up and that all systems are ready for the storm.
RHCC is able to weather the storm with minimal downtime due to thorough emergency planning. All systems are good.
That’s when we get “The Call.”
Post-storm, mold is found in the air in RHCC’s corporate office.
They must vacate their building immediately.
The roads from Durham to RHCC’s corporate office in Maxton, NC, are all blocked with severe flooding and downed trees, but Net Friends must find a way.
Immediately after getting the call, Director of Health Care Technology Ron Viles springs into action. He quickly calls together an emergency team of [net] Friends to help. Since Net Friends was able to prepare ahead of disaster, we’re ready when it strikes. Together, Ron and his team put a plan in place and stay late at the office to assemble a toolkit of supplies that RHCC will need to make the move with limited downtime.
Net Friends is ready. Just before dawn, Ron hits the road. He navigates the dark and flooded roads, taking backroads through Pittsboro and Pinehurst to arrive onsite in Maxton first thing in the morning.
Once arrived, Ron is able to assure the RHCC staff that he’ll have them up and running in no time, and he helps facilitate their move to open space in one of their clinics. After safely relocating all computers and workstations, Ron is able to put his plan in place.
Because of thorough planning and the ability to think and act quickly, Ron and his team of [net] Friends were able to quickly and efficiently create a makeshift network, hook up and patch in all the workstations, and have the RHCC team up and running in no time!
He takes the time once all systems are up to make sure cables are tidy, the temporary RHCC office is neatly organized, and there are no trip hazards. By noon, Ron is on his way back to Durham, and RHCC is working at full capacity!
- Know your client. Know if natural events affect them. Know what data is important to them.
- Be prepared. It’s our job to protect the assets of the people we support.
- Be proactive with the backups – you never know when you’ll need them.
- Take a look at your site. Is the server room near an outside wall? Is it in the lowest place in the building? Make sure it’s safe and in a good location to weather the storm.
- Communicate, communicate, communicate! Net Friends was able to save the day by working as a team, communicating internally and with the RHCC staff and jumping into action when duty called despite enormous roadblocks and obstacles.
- Bring bug spray, because post-hurricane mosquitos are wicked! (below is an actual picture of a Mosquito in Maxton that Ron captured while he was there!)