Hurricane Irma made landfall in Florida Sept. 10 and devastated the state. The storm caused an estimated $42.5–$65 billion in damages, and some cities were left without power for weeks. Indeed, power outages are a common result of such powerful storms (Irma was the strongest hurricane observed in the Atlantic since 2005). This is dangerous for all residents, but elderly individuals who reside in retirement centers and nursing homes are especially vulnerable. A Fatal Catastrophe in Hollywood, Florida These facilities are required to have certain equipment and supplies in the event of a power outage. These include a generator, food, water, and adequate staff support to care for all residents for up to 72 hours without electricity. Unfortunately, the minimum generators required are only strong enough to power a few systems. For the residents of the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills in Hollywood, Florida, this fact became a worst-case scenario. Hurricane Irma caused a power outage at this facility, which then lacked sufficient energy to run the air conditioning throughout the building. This led to the deaths of eight residents due to lethally high temperatures. In response to this disaster, Governor Rick Scott announced a series of new rules Sept. 16, 2017, requiring that Florida nursing homes and assisted living communities have generators that can maintain comfortable temperatures for residents for at least 96 hours if the power goes out. Florida’s New Power Laws There are also proposed federal laws in direct response to the fatal events in Hollywood. Here’s an overview of requirements in the new emergency plan proposed by the Agency for Health Care Administration: Facilities must have the...
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