Historic snowstorm proves no match for Penn State Hershey employees

As a historic snowstorm struck central Pennsylvania this past weekend, hundreds of Penn State Hershey employees pulled together to not only keep the Medical Center running but also provide great care to patients. Extraordinary efforts were made by many people, including nurses, personal care assistants, respiratory therapists, operating room staff, patient safety companions and secretaries in patient care units. Many of these people spent the weekend away from their families, staying overnight either in the hospital or nearby hotels so they could work extra shifts.

As nearly 30 inches of snow blanketed the campus, hundreds of employees came to clear roads, sidewalks and parking lots; care for patients and aid their families; perform critical laboratory services; clean rooms and halls – especially the endless puddles of melted snow and ice;  ensure patients had fresh linens; prepare and serve meals; distribute meal vouchers; answer phones; and arrange sleeping accommodations for staff and discharged patients and shuttle them to and from those destinations.

The list of specific contributions from various teams is long. A sampling includes:

  • Some lab workers who carried a wheelchair-bound individual to the front door of a hotel because the handicapped entrance was blocked with snow.
  • The dialysis team, who rearranged their schedules and stayed at the hospital Friday night so that patients could receive the care they needed over the weekend.
  • Food services employees, who extended the café hours to accommodate staff who were working extra hours.

Penn State Hershey’s Facilities team earned high praise from patients and employees alike. They have been working around-the-clock since before the storm began, with an army of trucks with plows and spreaders, as well as tractors, snow blowers and utility vehicles. In all, some 30 pieces of equipment were handled over the weekend by dozens of staff – and three contractors supported the effort by staffing another 30 pieces of equipment. Their task was to clear snow from more than 80 acres of road and parking surface as well as nine miles of walkways across campus. Those efforts began on Wednesday (Jan. 20) when crews began spreading 3,000 gallons of salt brine as a pretreatment. Another 75 tons of bulk salt had been used as of this morning to treat roads, parking lots and walkways on campus. Crews continue to work to free up more parking spaces by hauling snow away from surface lots and the top of Centerview Parking Garage.

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Last Updated January 26, 2016