With Florida’s near-miss experience of Hurricane Florence fresh in our memories and several other tropical systems churning in the Atlantic, it’s clear that we are far from being in the clear with hurricane season. Amid National Preparedness Month, there couldn’t be a better time to get informed and get your belongings ready for the unpredictability.
There’s no such thing as being over-prepared when it comes to natural disasters, so Florida Health Care Association has compiled numerous resources on our Long Term Care Emergency Preparedness site. Each section, outlined below, has been specially crafted to address crucial stages of hurricane readiness for long term care centers, so head over to http://www.ltcprepare.org/ now to start preparing!
Know what’s happening and who to contact.
- FL DOH – Preparedness and Response – Planning Website
- This Florida Department of Health site outlines the framework for developing, implementing, and evaluating emergency plans and provides specific checkpoints and tasks. Don’t forget to note improvements you can make for following years!
- County Emergency Management Offices and Map
- This thorough map organizes Florida counties by region, including their corresponding emergency managers. Contact information is available for them, regional emergency management liaisons, and the liaison manager.
- Mobile Apps
Planning & Response
Be prepared for and familiar with possible hurricane situations that may arise.
- Emergency Preparedness Checklist for Nursing Homes, Assisted Living Facilities and Group Homes
- This checklist offers a solid foundation to start preparing for various situations during a hurricane and can be added to as additional needs are identified.
- It will help facilities identify how to equip themselves appropriately and ensure the safety of residents and staff during a storm.
- CMS Emergency Preparedness for Healthcare Providers – Resources and Links
- More resources on training exercises and guidance in correctly complying with regulations. New rules are explained.
- CMS Emergency Preparedness Testing Requirements for Nursing Homes
- When conducting an emergency preparedness drill, facilities must ensure that their staff is familiar with the routine and adhere to the testing requirements.
Training & Exercises
Centers can ensure resident safety by making sure staff is informed and ready.
- FHCA Emergency Management Guide for Nursing Homes
- Part III: Incident-Specific Hazards offers an informative section on hurricanes. It details what they are, clarifies related terms, and provide guidance for how to respond both before and after landfall.
- Safe Evacuation Tabletop Exercise for Long Term Care Facilities
- This simulated evacuation is an effective training tool that improves overall preparedness and readiness in four comprehensive steps. It utilizes a “talk-through” method to identify possible obstacles and their solutions in a collaborative environment.
- Emergency Preparedness Training and Exercise Guide for Nursing Homes
- By using an ongoing process to prepare and practice for hurricanes, staff members will become well-acquainted with procedures and recognize what is expected of them.
The storm may have passed, but safety precautions are far from over.
- Post-Storm Recovery Planning Considerations
- If evacuated during the storm, a facility must be thoroughly inspected to make sure it’s structurally sound and safe for residents before they can return. This includes a multitude of tasks to ensure safety regarding various factors such as the air quality and electricity.
- Checklist for Infection Control Concerns When Reopening Healthcare Facilities Closed Due to Extensive Water and Wind Damage
- Even though the hurricane has passed, it’s important to remain cautious. The federal Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has split this checklist into sections that cover different courses of action.
- After the Flood: Mold-Specific Resources
- Flooding is a common aftermath of hurricanes, and as a result mold can become prevalent. This exhaustive list of resources includes pertinent information from FEMA, the CDC, Department of Health, and many others regarding safety of the facility.
National Preparedness Month serves as an excellent reminder that we can never stop getting ready for the next storm. FHCA member centers are continually updating their plans, conducting trainings, and checking off their safety lists, this month and throughout the year. Because as Hurricane Irma showed us last year and this month’s activity has reinforced, you can never know when the next big storm will hit Florida.