Emergencies and disasters are predictably unpredictable. Yet this doesn’t mean we can’t be prepared to lessen the inevitable impact – especially during hurricane season.
At Memorial Healthcare System, it is David Dungan's job to do everything in his power to do just that.
As his role as Emergency Preparedness Director, Dungan runs the program designed to keep the hospital system ready in the event of a hurricane.
He lends support to the emergency room (ER) directors, who are responsible for coordinating hospital-level emergency preparedness activities. He ensures that the hospital’s and other licensed/accredited MHS business units have the resources necessary to maintain continual regulatory compliance.
Finally, David represents Memorial on local, regional and state emergency preparedness committees.
“The thing I enjoy most about working at Memorial is the opportunity to work in an environment that has a strong organizational culture towards safety and emergency management and to see how this culture is always changing for the better,” says David, a Memorial employee since 2015.
In an uncanny trajectory, David’s professional and education background prepared him for the work he does today. After high school, he joined a company that provided hazardous material removal, response and clean-up services. He learned how to manage hazardous materials, conduct risk assessments and work with a wide range of personal protective equipment.
After leaving the environmental industry, he became a police officer and later a member of the security team at an Ohio hospital, where he oversaw safety and the emergency management program. His career informed his academic journey, leading to a BS in Healthcare Administration and an MS in Safety Security and Emergency Management. He recently began a doctoral program in emergency management.
“All of these skills have been transferable to my current role,” says David.
Safety and preparedness for the entire Memorial community are constant concerns, but on June 1, when hurricane season officially begins, David and his department really ramp up their protocols.
“April 1 marks the activation of Phase 1 of the hospital Hurricane Preparedness Plans,” David states. “This phase continues until June 1. During this phase, hospitals coordinate preparedness activities such as hurricane plan review/revision, hurricane supplies management and staff assignment to before/during and after teams. The corporate emergency preparedness office assists hospitals with their planning considerations and coordinates with critical functional areas such as supply chain, property management, corporate communications, security and other corporate entities to ensure whole system preparedness. All preparedness activities are presented to the MHS Executive Team.”
In the months leading up to hurricane season, David advises employees to study the written plan of action and understand their roles. Employees can visit the Emergency Preparedness page on Memorial’s intranet for hurricane preparedness guidance. He stresses that knowledge of what to do in a hospital setting translates to home and family preparedness. He wants to take care of everyone, and Memorial supports that goal 100 percent.
“April 6 marked my third-year anniversary with Memorial. My time here has been very enjoyable,” he adds. “I feel I have contributed to the continued success of the MHS Emergency Preparedness Program, but more importantly, Memorial has contributed to my personal and professional growth.”