Hurricane season is fast approaching in Florida and, with it, the threat of power outages. Nursing homes are particularly at risk of issues caused by power outages because of the threat of heat exposure to the elderly residents. Several elderly people died of heat exhaustion following hurricane Irma. State elder law has since mandated that an alternate power source be in place in all assisted living and nursing homes.
The law states that all facilities be in compliance by June of 2018, and that was extended to January 1, 2019. There are still facilities that do not have alternate power in place. The law states that the facilities must have backup generators or other alternate power source that can control the building’s temperature for at least 96 hours.
Heat exhaustion is a real threat to the elderly. The 12 people who died following hurricane Irma in 2017 would likely have survived if a backup power source had been available. The ability to maintain a fairly constant temperature is part of the state safety guidelines.
The elderly is the fastest growing segment of the American population. Maintaining their health and wellbeing is paramount. Florida is hot in the summer, so protection against excessive heat is important for all, but particularly the elderly. If a person is residing in a facility without a backup power source to protect against the onset of heat exhaustion, he or she may wish to consult with an elder law attorney. The lawyer can review the situation and advise the client as to what legal options are available.