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Is your parent's nursing home hurricane ready?

Florida is known for both its beautiful sunshine and its severe hurricanes. These tropical storms can occur for the whole last half of the year, with the peak season being in late summer to early fall. The damage they cause is devastating, but some of the destruction and other consequences are avoidable through proper preparation.

One of the most important places that needs protection is the nursing home in which your parent lives. Do you know if the facility has safety measures in place for when a hurricane hits?

2017 disaster

Last year brought many powerful hurricanes, with Hurricane Irma being one of the worst of the 2017 season. Unfortunately, it led to a preventable disaster at a Hollywood Hills nursing home. The storm knocked out the power and thus the air conditioning, and the facility did not have a generator. Instead of evacuating the residents, staff put the patients in hallways near fans to try to keep them cool. Staff called 911 whenever a patient was in distress but did not inform anyone of the dangerous circumstances they were in. Twelve people died as a result.

Changes in state law

Due to this horrible event, Florida has demanded that all nursing homes and assisted living facilities have generators that can regulate temperatures for 96 hours. Unfortunately, despite extensions to the deadline, more than 75 percent of establishments have still not complied with the new law, reports USA Today's News-Press. This means that there is a very high chance that your parent is at risk if a power outage occurs.

Take action

Find out if the nursing home your parent is in is ready to handle a hurricane. Some questions you can ask include the following:

  • Do you have a generator?
  • What is your emergency plan for hurricanes?
  • How will you evacuate residents if necessary?
  • Have staff members received training on what to do?

If you get unsatisfactory answers, you may want to consider moving your parent to a safer nursing home.

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