As much of the country prepared for a long Labor Day weekend, senior living operators in Florida and nearby states were preparing for the arrival of Hurricane Dorian.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency on Wednesday for 26 counties, but he expanded the order on Thursday to include all 67 counties “due to Hurricane Dorian’s uncertain projected path.” The National Hurricane Center forecasts a potential landfall of a Category 4 hurricane on Sunday or Monday “with impacts possibly covering the entire peninsula and portions of Northwest Florida,” he said.
The state Agency for Health Care Administration has activated its emergency status system, requiring assisted living communities, nursing homes and other healthcare facilities statewide to submit their storm preparedness status, including information related to generators and their utility companies, emergency contacts and bed availability, the governor’s office said in a press release. Almost 94% of assisted living facilities are in compliance with state requirements for permanent backup generators, with an additional 1.6% having temporary generators onsite, according to AHCA.
Allegro Senior Living, with 14 open communities in Florida, according to its website, said Thursday that its employees were busy putting precautions in place. The company communicated safety plans to residents and staff members at in-person meetings planned and plans to keep everyone updated via online posts as well, Allegro said.
Communities are equipped with food, water for drinking and personal use, and extra emergency lighting; outdoor furniture has been secured; and vacant apartments, common areas and offices have been prepared for workers and their families, the company said.
“Care staff will assist assisted living residents with obtaining a supply of medications,” Allegro said. “The community will remind independent living residents to get their prescriptions filled.”
Leaders at Devonshire at PGA National and Chatsworth at PGA National, Erickson Living communities in Palm Beach Gardens, FL, have implemented comprehensive hurricane preparedness plans to ensure the safety and well-being of residents and staff, a post on Devonshire’s website said Thursday.
“Extensive precautionary efforts have been undertaken to ensure the community has adequate staff resources and supplies,” the post said. “Additionally, residents have been advised of steps they can take to be ready for severe weather that may last for several days.”
Leaders expect to keep everyone updated via its emergency notification and alert system, printed information, online posts and in-person talks, Devonshire said. Residents and others also have available to them a telephone line for emergencies, according to Erickson Living.
Brookdale Senior Living noted that Georgia and areas as far north as the Carolinas may need to monitor the weather for potential effects of the hurricane.
“We are monitoring the storm and have preparedness plans in place,” the company said Thursday in an online post. “We are also following the guidance of local authorities when it comes to potential evacuations.”
Communities have water, food, supplies and permanent or ready-to-deploy generators, according to Brookdale. The company said it will keep people updated via its website and community Facebook pages.
The Good Samaritan Society – Kissimmee Village has been meeting with county emergency management officials to prepare for the hurricane, the organization said Thursday in an online post. Good Samaritan Society – Daytona, Luther Hall and Good Samaritan Society – Florida Lutheran in De Land also have initiated their hurricane preparedness plans, the organization said.
Designated employees are scheduled to remain on campus to ensure safety and security, Good Sam said. Kissimmee Village, located in an area with a history of flooding, had begun a process ensuring that all drains were clear, filling and placing sandbags in designated locations, reinforcing shutters to secure windows, stocking up on food and water, storing all unsecured items inside facility storage, checking and testing emergency generators per state regulations, activating a one-call system to notify employees and residents of storm conditions and evacuation procedures (if needed), broadcasting updates on a closed-circuit television system, enabling satellite phones to maintain communication should regular telephone / cell phone services fail, and putting a bus fleet on standby should residents need to be evacuated.
Acts Retirement-Life Communities, with Florida communities in Boca Raton and Vero Beach, is posting updates on the website pages of relevant communities as well as via Facebook.
“The safety and comfort of our residents and staff is our highest priority, and our communities are fully prepared for the storm with back-up generators, ample supplies and extra staffing to maintain the safe operations of our campuses,” the company said. “Even activities and entertainment are planned to help ride out the storm.”
Other Acts communities that could potentially be affected by the storm are prepared to activate their severe weather emergency plans as necessary, the company said.
Affinity Living Group, with communities in Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia, said Wednesday that it is rolling out new disaster preparedness plan this year, covering not just natural disasters such as hurricanes, tornadoes and earthquakes but also active shooter, nuclear and chemical-involved scenarios.
The plans exceed licensing requirements, said Denis Rainey, vice president of crisis and emergency management for ALG. “We want to go above and beyond to ensure we are fully prepared, have a well thought out plan, and our teams are adequately trained to handle any situation they may encounter,” he said.
ALG said the company has been working on improving its preparedness plans since Hurricane Florence struck the North Carolina coast in September, affecting several of its communities.
The new plan includes individualized checklists for each department of a facility and for each type of emergency situation. Teams have been trained on the processes for each scenario, and monthly drills are conducted. ALG also said it has developed relationships with emergency management teams in each state in which it operates.