AORN Offers Steps to Restore OR Operations After a Power Outage and Flooding

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The following suggestions were prepared by nurse consultants at the Association of Perioperative Registered Nurses (AORN) especially for those who have been affected by Hurricane Sandy. The AORN Nursing Consult Line is open to members who have specific questions on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. MT at 1-800-755-2676.


1. Perform an environmental assessment by a multi-disciplinary team including:
a. Infection Preventionist
b. Facility Plant Engineer
c. Nursing
d. Sterile Processing Department Manager
e. Management
2. Assess environmental cleanliness:
a. Condensation on surfaces (eg, walls, flooring, supply packages)
b. Inspect sterile packaging for condensation on surfaces or any signs of water damage
3. Assess power supply: Fully restored or on emergency generator?
4. Assess HVAC system:
a. Air exchanges restored?
b. Temperature within acceptable range?
c. Humidity less than 60%?
5. Assess water supply
a. Water pressure
b. Water quality
c. Steam supply lines
6. Perform quality check on steam sterilizers and automated cleaning equipment before returning to service.
a. Reprocess or discard any sterile items suspected of damage
7. Terminally clean operating rooms
8. Inventory and record discarded damaged supplies for insurance claim purposes and to obtain replacements.

Additional Resource: L Mitchell, Lessons Learned from Hurricane Ike, AORN Journal, Volume 89, Issue 6 , Pages 1073-1078, June 2009.