CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - The city of Cleveland is counting down to the 2016 presidential campaign and Republican National Convention, but local hospitals are also getting ready.
Exactly eight months from now, the RNC will descend on Cleveland, bringing an expected 50,000 to 65,000 extra people to the city.
"We've gotta be prepared for disasters. We're 100 percent sure it's not going to happen, but in that rare instance, God forbid some mass casualty event would happen, we have to be prepared," said Dr. Michael Anderson, chief medical officer at University Hospitals.
Anderson says local hospitals have been training with FEMA and Homeland Security.
"Are we ready for the day in, day out medical needs? Do we have concierge medicine in the hotels? Do we have telemedicine presence available? We want to show the delegates and the media what a great city we have and what a great healthcare superpower we have," explained Anderson.
Officials say being prepared is a team effort, not just between hospitals, but with law enforcement and the RNC, as well. Parts of downtown will be blocked off, which means regular ambulance routes will have to be diverted.
Meanwhile, health officials are also looking at the "what ifs" when it comes to handling possible mass disasters.
"It could be weather-related events. It could be unintended events. It could be foodborne illness outbreak," said Marek Owca, director of emergency management at MetroHealth System.
Owca says construction on their ICU was already underway before the RNC, in an effort to update the hospital. It should be finished in time, doubling the number of beds available for patients.
He says you can never be too prepared.
"I'm not expecting those kinds of things. I think we're looking for a nice event for the city and the state. But we'll be ready to react and respond if we're called to do that," Owca said.
As for the Cleveland Clinic's preparations, a spokesman released this statement:
"The Cleveland Clinic has been in the planning process for the past few months. Specifically, we have attended all security briefings put on by the City of Cleveland, along with the other major hospitals.
We are in the process of making plans and staffing accordingly, and will have more information to share within the next few months."