Monday, September 9, 2019

When It's Time to Evacuate-It Takes More TIme

Dorian was a bad, bad storm. For those of you who don't live in hurricane country, it may be hard to grasp the magnitude of needed preparations.  Every area of the country has natural disasters, some (like hurricanes) coming with more notice than others.  How far in advance should authorities order an evacuation, knowing the course can change (see, e.g. Dorian).  There needs to be enough time to move those who are medically , cognitively or physically comprised.  The New York Times examines preparations in 

Hurricane Dorian Tests Florida’s Ability to Move Older Adults Out of Harm’s Way.

Remember Hurricane Irma? The Florida authorities certainly do.

The last major Atlantic storm to hit the state was foremost in officials’ minds. When Hurricane Irma came ashore two years ago, a dozen patients died after a nursing home in Hollywood, Fla., lost its air-conditioning. The tragedy prompted new regulations and an acknowledgment that evacuation orders were not enough to protect the state’s large older population. When it comes to older people, no state has more retirees than Florida, where they make up one-fifth of the population, according to the AARP.

A new state law requires backup generators and enough fuel to maintain comfortable temperatures at nursing homes and assisted living centers, a mandate first tested last year when Hurricane Michael struck the Florida Panhandle. Last week, four nursing home workers were charged in the Hurricane Irma deaths, which were ruled homicides.

Remember the article from a few days ago about the elevator being out of repair?  Look at this: "Jacksonville, Fla., officials advised residents with just a few hours’ notice that it would disable its elevator on Monday afternoon." That leaves residents with two choices: go now, or not be able to go at all, without someone physically getting the resident down the stairs.

Lots of folks live in Florida nursing homes, especially in S. Florida, according to the article. After Irma, Florida now requires SNFs and ALFs to have emergency generators. The week before the threat of Dorian, "[t]he Miami Herald reported ... that nearly 60 percent of the state’s 687 nursing homes did not yet have enough power backup."

The article offers examples of some facilities in Florida that implemented their emergency evacuation plans. In some parts of Florida, we were very lucky. Those in Dorian's path, from the Bahamas on, were not.  In case you missed it, hurricane season goes til the end of November 

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/elder_law/2019/09/when-its-time-to-evacuate-it-takes-more-time.html

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