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FHCA Members: Disaster Ready, Committed to Resident Safety

Emergency preparedness, including the safety of our residents and staff, is a priority for Florida Health Care Association and the more than 550 nursing centers we represent. Over the past year, 1,500 of these dedicated long term care professionals took part in disaster trainings – from community-based discussions and disaster drills to educational seminars that focused on all-hazards planning and implementing federal requirements. A recent survey conducted by Emory University also showed that 94% of Florida nursing centers have regular communications with local emergency management agencies to discuss emergency preparedness; 88% discuss emergency preparedness with their residents; and 85% share emergency preparedness policies with residents' families.

That ongoing commitment is the reason 68,000 residents and patients in our FHCA member centers were successfully cared for throughout the duration of Hurricane Irma. The tragedy that occurred in a single, non-member nursing center is unconscionable and does not reflect the dedication of our members represented by Florida Health Care Association. During and after Hurricane Irma, FHCA members conducted an unprecedented number of successful evacuations and shelterings in place. There were also countless selfless acts by caregivers who prioritized their centers’ residents over the immediate needs of their own families and personal property.

"The Governor's dedicated efforts and actions throughout the emergency demonstrated his outstanding commitment to protecting the welfare and safety of thousands of nursing center residents, as well as Florida's entire population."


FHCA and its members have made tremendous strides in emergency preparedness since Florida was battered by a series of storms in 2004 and 2005. Our members were ready to respond to Hurricane Irma and meet the immediate needs of those entrusted to their care thanks to ongoing disaster training, constant communication and support from federal, state and local responders who worked with us throughout this disaster.

As we have expressed before, FHCA supports the Governor’s goal to further harden nursing centers against disasters. We also commend the Governor for his steadfast leadership throughout Florida’s preparations, response and recovery associated with this historically dangerous event. His dedicated efforts and actions throughout the emergency demonstrated his outstanding commitment to protecting the welfare and safety of thousands of nursing center residents, as well as Florida's entire population.

FHCA is concentrating its efforts on finding solutions and welcomes the opportunity to work with the Legislature and the Administration to continue building upon the lessons learned over these last several weeks to strengthen resident-focused procedures for nursing center emergency power plans. The residents in our care deserve nothing less.

MEDIA CONTACT:
Kristen Knapp, APR
FHCA Director of Communications
(850) 701-3530 or kknapp@fhca.org