With the anniversary of Hurricane Irma upon us, FHCA Executive Director Emmett Reed has released the following statement regarding residents’ safety, member center compliance, and continued preparations in the wake of Irma’s destruction.
“Last year’s tragedy has served as an immeasurable motivator for our member nursing centers and assisted living facilities to remain prepared to keep our more than 70,000 residents safe throughout the current and future storm seasons. Hurricane Irma was a historic storm, and as long term care professionals we will never forget those residents whose lives were lost. We also want to remember the thousands of caregivers who performed heroically to keep their residents safe – either in their building or by evacuating their residents elsewhere. The well-being of our residents remains our highest priority, and we are steadfast in our commitment to do everything we can to ensure their safety no matter what nature throws our way.
I’m pleased to say that every FHCA member nursing center and assisted living facility is in compliance with the generator rule, and those centers are working diligently to install massive permanent generators to keep residents safe, cool, and comfortable. This is a complex and highly-regulated process that can take a year or more to ensure that equipment is installed safely and with all the required approvals. Unfortunately, much of this extended timeline is resulting from the red tape that comes with the construction process, including balancing the need for both state and local approvals related to permitting and zoning, along with engineering, site inspection and other contractor timeframes. Despite these challenges, and the significant costs that come with generator installation, centers remain focused on what matters – the safety of their residents. So while working to get this done, they have brought in mobile generators or made arrangements to evacuate should the power go out.
Compliance with regulations to keep residents safe is a responsibility our member centers have and always will take seriously. At the same time, these centers are demonstrating that there’s more to their mission than just compliance – it’s about providing quality care and enriching the lives of elders who can no longer care for themselves at home.”