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Martin County nursing homes prepared for Dorian

Posted at 11:35 PM, Aug 28, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-29 04:01:32-04

MARTIN COUNTY, Fla. — Nursing homes and assisted living facilities are preparing for the threat of Hurricane Dorian possibly impacting the Treasure Coast.

State law requires them to have backup generators should they lose power.

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This law went into effect after a dozen people died in Broward County following power outages caused by Hurricane Irma in 2017. Investigators said 12 people died as a result of complications from the heat inside a nursing home that did not have a backup generator.

In Martin County, the Deputy Director of Emergency Management, Bill Pecci, says the near 30 assisted living facilities and nursing homes in Martin County are prepared.

“The generators are there. The fuel’s there. They’re ready to go,” Pecci said. “They’re getting all of their water, their food, they’re getting everything they need ahead of the storm.”

Pecci said Emergency Management officials met with administrators from local nursing homes and assisted living facilities three weeks ago, as a routine meeting. The timing, he says, proved beneficial. They know everyone’s plan has been reviewed prior to Hurricane Dorian’s potential impacts to Florida.

“I have not received a single phone call that any of them are having any problems,” Pecci said.

The Martin County Sheriff’s Office is also getting more involved with post-storm check-ups for the nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

“Once the storm passes, we will go and check every nursing home in Martin County and make sure generators are working and that the patients are comfortable,” said Martin County Sheriff William Snyder.

In previous years, Pecci said the health department and fire rescue took on the task of checking nursing homes after major storms, “but now that the sheriff’s office is on board, we will be able to hit them very quickly and spread out and do it much more efficiently.”

If they discover failures for any generators, they can take quick action to get the patients somewhere safe.

“We will take every step necessary to get the elderly and at-risk out of those nursing homes, into buses and into shelters,” Snyder said.