Evacuating elderly residents from a building in a timely way can mean the difference between life and death. Disasters such as fires, hurricanes, flooding, hazardous materials or fumes and power outages put lives in immediate danger. Florida statutes require an evacuation plan in every facility’s Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan.
The facility manager or owner must determine and implement training for all employees so they fully understand their roles. The CEMP must include the name of the person responsible for the implementation of the evacuation. Staff should understand the procedures for accompanying residents as they evacuate, and the log system that they use to keep track of residents evacuated and in the appropriate location. There should also be procedures in place regarding responses to family inquiries after evacuation.
In many cases, residents may be able to evacuate the facility without assistance. The evacuation route should be clear to everyone, as well as the locations where each person should stay so that staff can log their escape.
It is natural for people fleeing a disaster to want to grab some of their possessions before leaving the building. Depending on the disaster, residents may have the time and need to collect a few things. In this case, staff should inform them of what and how much they can bring with them.
Getting everyone out of the building is only the first step. Once the evacuation is complete, there should be transportation and a plan for taking residents to a location where they can receive the required care.
When a timely evacuation allows for moving supplies, records, medications, food and water for residents, procedures should describe how staff accomplishes this, including transportation of these items. This is particularly important for seniors who depend on their medications to survive.