This past weekend Northeastern states hunkered down through a massive snowstorm that caused heavy winds and power outages. At a press conference Friday Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York declared a state of emergency. “This is a serious, severe storm but we just went through some really terrible storms with Hurricane Sandy,” he said. “We are not anticipating anything like that.” But storms don’t have to take on Sandy or Katrina proportions to close dialysis clinics and create obstacles to providing treatment to dialysis patients in need.

Small storms can turn into big disasters. In NN&I’s February issue, Jane Davis, DRP, CRNP, writes about preparing for and responding to different kinds of disasters. “In health care,” she writes, “precautions are taken to prepare for disasters; fire drills, mock codes, and disaster manuals are standard. However, ask someone who has experienced a disaster and most likely the story is, ‘We thought we were prepared, but…’

Since the recent string of severe weather, terms like “lessons learned” have become buzzwords. But it is crucial that the renal community, from network managers to patient care technicians, take stock after every disaster, big and small.

“A sophisticated lessons-learned apparatus may be one of the most valuable investments for any society, ” writes Juliette Kayyem in the Boston Globe today. “There is a perpetual feedback loop. The cycle of learning and adjusting never ends.”