As an owner and operator of multiple assisted living communities, one of my all-time greatest fears was an emergency situation. A fire, flood, extended power outage – any of these things could threaten the health and safety of my building full of vulnerable residents.
In 1996, the year of the worst recent Portland flooding, we were given evacuation orders by the local fire department for our Memory Care building located in SE Portland. It was 11:00 at night, and we had three little children asleep in their beds. I knew we needed to personally make sure everything went well, but it was one very harrowing night. A neighbor came to stay with the kids, and my husband and I took off – slowly (all roads were flooded) for our care community. Before we left, though, I had located an empty wing of a nearby hospital that would take our residents and had given the staff specific instructions to begin notifying families.
By the time we arrived at the community everything was ready to go. Every resident was up and dressed. The night staff – a short but very busy crew – had packaged a change of clothes for each person, complete with a couple of extra depends if needed, marked them with the person’s name, and prepared the medications for transport. They had begun calling every family member and had written a sign for the door notifying any visitor where we could be found.
Our experience isn’t unique. Many facilities evacuated after Hurricane Katrina; others during floods, tornados and hurricanes. These are incredibly difficult situations, and loss of life can result if you’re not carefully prepared – and lucky, too.
Fire is a hazard that happens even when the weather is perfect. USA Today ran a story a few years ago that reported an average of one fatal fire each month in assisted living.
What if that fire was in your building? Would your team know – quickly, confidently – what to do?
Following our own experience we wanted to help others prepare for their own emergency and make sure every member of the team was prepared. We knew that the only way to really know what to do in an emergency, when the adrenalin is pumping and the pressure is on, is for that information to be simply automatic.
And that takes repetition.
We can help! We’ve prepared a template to help you build a custom course just for your team, building by building. Just give us the answers to some very basic questions and we’ll build the course for you. Assign the course to everyone, have them complete the quiz and earn a certificate, and you’ll not only being going the extra mile to prepare your staff, you’ll also have evidence of your extra effort in the event that something should go horribly wrong.
Each custom Emergency Preparedness course costs only $50 to build. Invest today – sleep tonight!
Watch this to learn more:
If you’re wondering how my own flood evacuation story turned out, here’s the ending We made a choice to stay in the building literally until the water was lapping at the driveway. Since we were on evacuation warning rather than an order, we chose to stay put. Just as we were at the “now-or-never” decision point the water began receding and the evacuation warning was lifted. We were very lucky that day, but this close call taught us never to take good preparation for granted again!