All Eyes of Emergency Power Regulation: The Case of Florida’s Nursing Homes

Authors: Nicole Hutton*, Old Dominion University, Michael Allen, Old Dominion University
Topics: Hazards and Vulnerability, Hazards, Risks, and Disasters
Keywords: Mitigation, Nursing Homes, Emergency Power Supplies
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/7/2019
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Cleveland 1, Marriott, Mezzanine Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Post-disaster power restoration is imperative to preserve the health of the elderly because they are at increased risk of heat stress and may be dependent upon life-sustaining medical equipment. Following at least eight heat related deaths in a nursing home that experienced prolonged power outage from a hurricane, the state of Florida increased requirements for emergency power supplies. Although Rule 59A-4.1265 Emergency Environmental Control for Nursing Homes required these upgrades by June 1, 2018, many facilities received extensions due in part to the increased demand for emergency power supply systems across the state. By postponing the deadline, some nursing home residents faced another hurricane season without a guarantee of sufficiently cooled space. Review of Emergency Power Plan Consumer Friendly Summaries revealed delays in the implementation of emergency power plans at five of the seven nursing homes affected by Hurricane Michael in October 2018 including Gulf, Calhoun, and Jackson counties. Many nursing homes from Collier to Polk Counties, which were in the path of a Hurricane Irma the year prior, also received extensions. Further, those in compliance had inconsistent emergency power generation capacities. For example, few facilities offered electricity beyond the required cooled space, which negates the full benefit of life-sustaining technology. Lessons learned from Florida’s compliance delays could improve the coordination of emergency power system upgrades in other parts of the United States with extreme temperature risk and reduce preventable deaths and the likelihood of displacing residents due to power failure.

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