Is Your Nursing Home Prepared for a Hurricane?
One of the tragedies of Hurricane Irma was the death of 8 people in a nursing home in Hollywood, Florida. The residents were aged 71 to 99 and died because a transformer that powered the air conditioning units failed after the hurricane landed. Family members reported visiting their loved ones who were as white as ghosts and trembling. Unfortunately, these folks were not rescued in time, and residents succumbed to the sweltering heat.
Florida has responded to this tragedy by setting guidelines that require nursing homes to install generators that can power air conditioning after a hurricane. The generators must have enough fuel to control temperatures for 96 hours, or 4 full days. After that point, power should hopefully be restored, or arrangements can be made to move residents. The regulation was passed and signed into law by Governor Scott in 2018, and nursing homes had until July 1, 2018 to come into compliance.
Nursing Homes Have Been Slow to Respond
However, reporting this year shows that many nursing homes are not complying with the new rules. Even worse, the state has not fined many facilities. Should another hurricane strike, then residents could have to endure muggy weather and high temperatures.
According to WPTV Contact 5, many of the state’s 1,000 elder care facilities have not installed permanent generators. The state law was supposed to result in a $1,000 every single day that facilities were out of compliance. However, Contact 5 found that very few nursing homes were fined by the state; instead, many were granted hardship exemptions.
Even more worryingly, one company that runs 77 nursing homes in the state has claimed that it would simply move residents around to other homes that had permanent generators, or it would rent generators as a storm approached. This is certainly not in keeping with the letter of the law.
Is Your Nursing Home Safe?
If you have a loved one in a nursing home, you should check whether it has installed permanent generators. There were no reports of problems with Hurricane Dorian, but that could be because Dorian passed by when it was so far out to sea. Another hurricane that directly hits the state could cause much more damage than Dorian did, and nursing homes could lose power, stranding loved ones in high heat.
Meet with an experienced Daytona Beach personal injury attorney if your loved one has been injured in a long-term care facility. At Bundza & Rodriguez, we have helped many people hold nursing homes accountable when they injure their patients. Negligence is never acceptable, especially when vulnerable populations are hurt.
For more information, please contact us today by calling 386-252-5170.