Florida lawmakers recently ratified a bill requiring all assisted living facilities (ALFs) to have working generators. Governor Rick Scott originally introduced the requirement for both nursing homes and assisted living facilities. While the nursing home law was passed in February, the assisted living facility requirement was stalled due to concerns about how the increase in cost of doing business would impact smaller ALFs.
The new law requires Florida assisted living facilities to purchase generators that can maintain cooling systems and sustain comfortable temperatures in the event of a power outage. Facilities licensed for 18 or more residents must also have enough fuel onsite to maintain temperatures for 72 hours, while smaller facilities are required to have enough fuel for 48 hours.
The new law is in response to an incident where eight residents passed away after Hurricane Irma from overheating. Florida assisted living facilities failing to comply with the regulation face $1,000 per day fines and the possibility of having their license revoked.
Steps to Take Next
As a Florida assisted living facility, there are five steps you can take to assure compliance.
There are two types of generators you can choose from – portable or standby. Portable generators cost $500-$1,500 depending on their output and standby generators start at $5,000.
To pick the right type, you need to estimate what your power needs are by checking the labels on your cooling system and any appliances you want to run. Add the requirements together and the total watts is your starting point for choosing a generator that is the right size.
The new law requires the fire marshal to inspect generators within 15 days of installation.
Check you generator monthly to assure no rodents are trying to make a home in it, there is an adequate amount of oil and coolant, and there is no corrosion that could impact its use.
Preventative maintenance is the key to maximizing the life of your generator. Every six months you should check the coolant thermal protection level and test the generator to assure it is working properly.
Annual inspections should also be scheduled to assure the generator runs properly. This is the time to replace filters, change the oil, and check/clean the alternator and switches.
Assisted living facilities have until July 1st to comply with the regulation. The earlier you begin the process, the less stressful the change will be for your assisted living facility.