Woman wrapped in blanket, wearing face mask and holding coffee cup

Ice, power outages and low temperatures left several Brookdale Senior Living communities and other communities across Texas without power on Tuesday, necessitating the implementation of emergency preparedness plans to ride out the unusual storm.

“We remain focused on the safety and comfort of residents and our associates who care for them,” Brookdale Communications Manager Heather Hunter told McKnight’s Senior Living. “We have a storm preparedness plan in place, and our communities are equipped with water, food, onsite or ready-to-deploy generators, and supplies, including an adequate supply of face coverings, hand sanitizer and disinfectants to care for residents.”

Argentum President and CEO James Balda asked that power be prioritized for senior living communities affected by the storm across the country, and also asked that disruptions and planned power outages be limited to ensure that essential operations can continue. 

“When outages are absolutely necessary, it is vital that this information be communicated to senior living communities well in advance so they can plan and prepare for special accommodations to keep their residents and staff safe,” he said. “These communities, which are home to hundreds of thousands of residents across these affected states, are serving populations that are extremely vulnerable to cold temperatures and extreme conditions, as well as to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and they require specialized care and services.”

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which manages the state’s electricity grid, began rotating outages overnight Sunday to avoid widespread blackouts that can occur during excessive supply demands. Although nursing homes are included in a tier of locations given priority during rolling outages, they were not excluded from the rolling blackouts due to the crisis situation, according to a published report.

Winter Storm Uri affected the central United States, bringing freezing rain, sleet and snow from Texas to the mid-Atlantic region. A second storm is set to arrive on Wednesday with more snow and ice. At least 12 deaths were attributed to the storm, according to the Weather Channel, which noted that more than 4 million customers in Texas still had no electricity on Tuesday.

ERCOT reported that temperatures in many parts of Texas were forecasted to drop well below the west temperatures experienced in several decades. ERCOT’s meteorologist issued a weather report warning that “this period will go down in Texas weather history as one of the most extreme events to ever impact the state.”

Brookdale Watauga, Watuaga, TX, experienced a pipe burst in the building, necessitating the temporary relocation of its residents Monday evening. Residents were moved to nearby communities at Brookdale North Richland Hills, North Richland Hills; Brookdale Richland Hills Memory Care, Richland Hills; and Brookdale Oak Hollow, Bedford, TX. Brookdale reported that a team was on site Tuesday working on restoration efforts.