PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – With Tropical Storm Dorian setting its sights on Florida, there is concern several bay area nursing homes and assisted living facilities are not prepared to go without power.
State law requires nursing homes and ALF’s to have a generator to keep people cool if the power goes out.
But 8 on Your Side found, 2 years following Hurricane Irma, there are still places that don’t have a back-up ready.
Ensuring nursing homes and ALF’s have a mandated generator, falls onto the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration.
Its own database shows compliance rates across our area are nowhere near 100%.
A sample includes Pinellas, Pasco, Sarasota, and Manatee counties hovering around 70%.
Hillsborough and Hernando are in the 80% range.
The Pinellas Emergency Management Director said all places need to examine their operations.
“It always concerns me when I see that people in the community are not prepared and especially the facilities that are taking care of our most vulnerable populations,” said Cathie Perkins.
8 on Your Side called 2 of the 6 Pinellas facilities listed as having no generators. People who answered the phone insisted, the list is wrong.
When Irma knocked out power to Highland Lakes Assisted Living in Palm Harbor, management brought in portable generators and cooling units.
Resident’s families reported warm conditions inside. But nothing like the roasting 99 degrees found at the now-closed “Rehabilitation Center” in South Florida.
12 patients died, and now, 4 people are facing serious charges.
Pinellas has planned a “plan B.” “We can open up cooling centers in the community. We want to make sure that we’re communicating with them and they’re communicating with us,” said Perkins.
Perkins reminds everybody, now is the time to know what you will do, if a storm hits.
There are many nursing homes and ALF’s that have a “variance.”
To get one, they must have a temporary generator on-site, a plan to get one within 24 hours of an outage, or a plan to evacuate everyone.
To see if your loved ones nursing home or ALF is in compliance click here.