Changes proposed in Irma’s wake to protect Florida’s most vulnerable
State Senator Lauren Book (D-Plantation) today filed legislation (SB 284) that would require nursing homes and assisted living facilities to have working generators. The proposed bill is response to the deaths of eight elderly residents at the Rehabilitation Facility of Hollywood Hills, following air conditioner failure within the facility in Hurricane Irma’s wake.
“There is no excuse for failing to protect those most vulnerable among us,” says Sen. Book, who co-signed a letter to Governor Scott requesting the Florida Department of Law Enforcement open a formal investigation into the tragedy. “The loss of eight lives at Hollywood Hills was completely preventable, and that is what is so heartbreaking about this situation. One of the residents who perished lived to be 99 years old – but because of air conditioning failure and human negligence in the days following a storm, this very special life was lost. We can prevent these things – which never should have happened in the first place – from happening again…and we must, for the sake of our senior citizens and their families.”
If passed, the legislation would add electricity and emergency power sources to unannounced inspections of nursing homes and assisted living facilities, as well as require equipment sufficient to provide adequate day-to-day electricity, a fully operational emergency power source, and a supply of fuel sufficient to sustain the emergency power source for at least five days during a power outage.
The Rehabilitation Facility of Hollywood Hills air conditioning malfunctioned on Sunday and elderly residents had to endure oppressive conditions for three days before an evacuation was conducted.
Sen. Book intends to continue to fight for the health and rights of all citizens – especially senior citizens in the state of Florida, making senior wellbeing a special focus during her term.
“This is just the beginning of a set of essential and long overdue reforms needed to help ensure Florida’s seniors are being cared for in the way we would wish for our own parents, or grandparents,” Sen. Book concludes.