July 22, 2016
June 1st marked the first day of hurricane season. If you are an adult residential care home or facility located in a hurricane zone, it is important that you prepare for hurricanes now. Hurricanes bring high winds, a great amount of rainfall, and wreak havoc on the communities they hit. Areas prone to high hurricane travel include the southern areas of the United States, but in recent years, these storms have traveled north along the East Coast damaging unprepared communities. Creating a plan today assures that you will be better prepared to protect your residents, staff and your adult residential care home. Since hurricanes are often times unpredictable, review and implement these items to make your hurricane disaster preparedness plan a success.
- Create a hurricane evacuation plan. Create and post an evacuation plan in your adult residential care home. The plan should consist of a map with the best route to take to a common meeting place for all individuals. This meeting place can be where you meet prior to leaving the home or the safest place in the home for residents and staff to take cover during a hurricane. An evacuation plan should also address where residents will relocate to in the event you are required to leave the area.
- Update your emergency contact list. Updating your emergency contact list now gives you peace of mind that you will be able to contact residents’ family members during a hurricane crisis situation. Keeping the line of communication open with family members during a hurricane will help alleviate their stress on what is happening with their loved one.
- Make or refill an emergency kit. An emergency kit or disaster preparedness kit includes items that your adult residential care home will need to utilize in the event of an emergency like a hurricane. Valuable items to have in one common area include: flashlights, batteries, the emergency contact list, bottles of water, a food supply that will last several days, medications and first aid supplies.
- Conduct hurricane safety drills. Practice makes perfect is a saying that you have heard a few times in your life. Conducting hurricane safety drills will identify areas that you and your staff need to work to be better prepared for an emergency. The drills will also set expectations for what you need your residents to be aware of during these times. Safety drills include practicing where to meet in the event of an evacuation as well as where to take cover if you stay in the home during a hurricane.
- Purchase flood insurance. After Hurricane Katrina destroyed parts of the south, many home owners and businesses were unable to rebuild. Commercial property and homeowners insurance policies exclude damages caused by flooding. Flooding is the biggest cause of damages during Hurricanes. Flood insurance can protect you financially in the event of a hurricane. There is a waiting period to purchase flood insurance making it a vital business decision for you to research today.
- Plan for power outages. The high winds that come with hurricanes can damage power lines and cause power outages. Plan for possible power outages by researching and purchasing a generator for your adult residential care home to reinstate electricity during these times. Generators are essential for adult residential care homes because they give you the opportunity to continue caring properly for your residents.
These steps are just a starting point to prepare your adult residential care home for potential hurricanes. For additional information on disaster preparedness and other items to consider before, during and after a hurricane, visit https://www.ready.gov/hurricanes.