Chad Bradt, MSL, NREMTP - Emergency Management Manager, Bayfront Seven Rivers Hospital
Chad Bradt likes to be prepared. In his role as emergency management manager at Bayfront Seven Rivers Hospital, the former firefighter and emergency medical technician has developed initiatives that streamline communications and organize staff during medical emergencies and catastrophic events. For this work, Bradt has been named the Healthcare Hero for Healthcare Innovation.
“We prepare for literally any emergency in the hospital, from fire to natural disaster to active shooter or other law enforcement situations,” he said. “Something as simple as a power outage or losing water can shut a hospital down.”
Bradt joined Seven Rivers in 2018, after retiring from Alachua County Fire and Rescue.
“My wife said I couldn’t stay home,” he said, with a laugh. He started as a part-time paramedic, until Seven Rivers found out he had an emergency management background. The emergency management manager position was created for him, to build on a process the hospital had in place.
Bradt implemented an advanced automated communication system that sends texts, emails, and phone calls to members of the hospital to alert them of critical events.
“The beauty of this new system is that it sends messages out simultaneously, instead of older systems that would go down a list of contacts and send messages out one at a time. This new system has drastically cut down communication time, which allows staff to respond more quickly,” said his nomination.
Along with the new communication system, Bradt also has written preparedness plans for every emergency scenario the hospital may experience.
“The plans have to be up to AHCA (Agency for Healthcare Administration) and Joint Commission (hospital accreditation organization) standards, as well as state and county standards – and they are all different,” he said.
Bradt’s interest in emergency preparedness developed during his career as a firefighter. Raised in Orange Park, FL, he took part in a high school career shadowing program and decided to become a paramedic. He trained in HAZMAT and special ops with Alachua County, and became a battalion chief in 2010.
He earned a master’s degree in leadership in disaster preparedness in 2016.
“I figured things would fall into place. I like teaching and thought, with my experience and background, I could do something with the degree,” he said.
At Seven Rivers, Bradt realized that, as with many other large facilities, mass communication was a challenge.
“It’s a pitfall in a lot of places,” he said. “The new system allows us to notify staff immediately, in several different ways.”
The system is used for hospital codes – notifications of medical emergencies – as well as for mass events. Bradt can create groups for the various notifications. Some codes, for example, may go to 14 people, while other alerts will go to hundreds. Hospital operators can send out the basic code alerts; Bradt handles the others.
He also organizes emergency drills to cover all the plans.
“I advocate that you’ve got to practice your plan in order for it to work. Some things are better on paper than in practice,” he said. “We do drills of some kind about every two months. My job is to look at the plan, run it through to make sure it works, then fix it if it doesn’t.
“I know that our response has been greatly improved. We do a lot of education for staff, we’re proactive in having a plan in the event that something happens,” he added, noting that he encourages staff to develop hurricane plans for themselves, their families, elderly parents, and pets.
Bradt collaborates with local EMS services and with the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office to hone his plans.
“The Sheriff’s Office supports everything we do,” he said. “I know they will be here to help mitigate any situations that arise. We work hand in hand to develop these plans.
“It’s not just writing something and putting in a binder. We have to put plans in action and the hospital is moving forward to make sure our staff is safe,” he said. “It’s a huge undertaking but we’re getting better every day.”
When he’s not helping Seven Rivers be prepared, Bradt enjoys kayaking and fishing with his wife, Christy, and their “fur kid,” Molly.