More than 350 staffers sleep at Regional Hospital to keep it going during the blizzard

RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA TV) - Rapid City Regional Health was prepared for the worst with the March 2019 blizzard.

They had more than 350 staffers sleep over at the hospital to make sure they weren't down a man.

They call this "condition snow". They say almost once a winter they have to prepare for a situation where they need to have enough staff to carry them throughout the duration of a storm.

So some staff slept on cots while others worked and they switched back and forth.

Wednesday night was the first time this winter they needed this plan. From 4 a.m. Wednesday night to 10 a.m. Thursday, the policy was in effect.

Everyone from nurses, physicians and patient care techs were on hand.

"It's hard to work 12 hours, much less more than that," said Jennifer Murray, director of the emergency department at Regional. "So we wanted to be on top of it. Our top priority is taking quality care of our patients and to do that we need all of our staff here and we were very prepared this time and I think it went pretty smooth."

Pennington County Emergency Management helped out too by donating cots for people to sleep on. Murray expects staff will get in on Thursday night with no problems.