“West Chester, Pennsylvania | Residents were wrapped in blankets as they were forced to evacuate the senior living community during the five-alarm fire at around 11 p.m. on Nov. 16, 2017. Steven M. Falk/AP” – PHOTO SOURCE: New York Daily News
by Lori Smetanka and Beverley Laubert
“Recent natural disasters exposed long-term-care facilities’ and community care systems’ levels of preparedness to handle emergencies and protect their residents and patients. Hurricanes and wildfires have tested communities’ emergency readiness and ability to respond. The failure of these providers to be prepared, or to effectively implement procedures that would protect their frail, vulnerable populations, has resulted in serious health consequences, even death.
“Long-term-care facilities have long been required by law to have detailed emergency response plans and procedures in place. But these regulations were not clear on what details were to be included in the plans, only requiring that facilities be prepared to meet all potential emergencies and disasters; specifically fires, severe weather and residents who go missing. Facilities also were required to train employees in emergency procedures, and to carry out random drills for staff.”