During the last week of June, I attended an educational seminar about emergency preparedness and planning for catastrophic events. New regulations put more emphasis on planning for disasters, especially in the wake of large scale disasters like Hurricane Katrina. We have long had plans for storms/severe weather and how to react in case of fire and over the years we have developed additional plans for events like bomb threats and active shooters. In the coming weeks, we will be working to further expand our plans, which will include reaching out to other agencies in our area like the local emergency services personnel and even other health care facilities to develop plans for an even wider range of possible disaster events.
My purpose in sharing this information with you is twofold: First I want to assure our residents and families that we take the safety of our residents and staff very seriously. Developing contingency plans is a very sobering task, and hopefully they would never need to be used. Secondly, part of developing these plans is to communicate them with our residents and their families along with practicing in drills.
Most of these efforts will revolve around the nursing and assisted living areas on campus, as this is being mandated by the federal government. The independent living areas on campus will be included in these plans, but safety and planning for emergencies in the independent setting is left much more to the hands of the individual.
So, please stay tuned. We will share the plans as we have them available and will be glad to discuss them if you have questions.
–Hallie Salmen, CEO/Executive Director