A complete power outage of the Specialty Care Center at White Memorial Hospital required the careful and expedient evacuation of 28 critical care patients from the six story building.
At 11:45PM on August 21, 2023 the Los Angeles City Fire Department responded to 1720 E Cesar Chavez Ave for a reported automatic fire alarm. Upon arrival, firefighters spoke with staff of the Speciality Care Center at White Memorial Hospital and determined there was a full power outage of the six story building. With 241 patients across their neonatal intensive care, OB/GYN and rehabilitation units, a mass casualty incident (MCI) response was initiated.
The incident command system (ICS) is a standardized approach to incident management which is expandable and enables a coordinated response to both small and large incidents. Facing a complex medical evacuation, the incident commander quickly implemented the needed level of ICS to establish all key roles.
As communications were initiated to determine how many patients each area hospital could accept, LAFD worked with staff from White Memorial to identify and prioritize the critical patients for transport. With all power out, elevators were not available to move patients between floors and firefighters/paramedics had to use specially designed 'stair chairs', gurneys and backboards to manually bring patients down the stairwells while maintaining any life support measures.
The closely coordinated operation with over 100 LAFD firefighters, under the command of Assistant Chief Melford Beard, and staff from White Memorial ensured the safe evacuation of all 28 critical patients (17 pediatric and 11 adult) by 6:30AM.
LAFD remained on scene through the morning to assist in the relocation of the remaining 213 non-critical patients to other facilities on the White Memorial campus.