With the hurricane season upon us, the health and safety of our senior residents, staff and extended community is top priority. Even though it will not likely peak until August or September, The Preserve is working behind the scenes to prepare for what is being forecasted as a very active season. From damaging tornadoes to tropical storm warnings or catastrophic hurricanes, it is important to know your facts and be prepared in the event of severe weather that could cause prolonged power outages and communication disruptions.
Our greatest concern is the safety of our vulnerable senior residents, who often face increased risk in emergency-type situations which is why we collaborate with various agencies and have contingency plans in place at all times. In addition to the inclement weather we prepare for, we also stay educated on the latest scams that tend to occur after natural disasters. We include some fraud tips received from our friends at the Lee County Sheriff’s Office to help protect our residents and their families from being taken advantage of. Although not totally comprehensive, this article should give you an idea of our hurricane preparedness.
Built in 2019, The Preserve senior living community is made of concrete block and the building and emergency utilities have been constructed to meet current surge and wind levels equivalent to a Category 3 hurricane. The first floor mechanical and electrical rooms are located above the required elevation of 19.6 feet, as well as the main IT and fire alarm equipment. Fred Leffingwell, Director of Maintenance and Environmental Services, was involved with the design and opening of the community. “I have over 30 years in healthcare settings and have a CHFM certification from the AHA”, says Leffingwell.
Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan (CEMP)
The CEMP and its components, written for the State of Florida, are intended for both the Skilled Nursing and Assisted Living Facility in responding to all emergencies, and all catastrophic, major, and minor, disasters. This plan defines the responsibilities of all levels of management that make up the Community Incident Command Team. The CEMP is reviewed and updated on an annual basis, and is designed to be flexible, adaptable and scalable. The plan articulates the roles and responsibilities of the Incident Command Team in its response and coordination with local, state and federal emergency officials.
The CEMP is in effect at all times and the plans and operational procedures within the CEMP are executed when needed or determined by the executive team at The Preserve. Julia Swanson, Executive Director, has primary authority to implement this plan in response to emergency weather situations, such as but not limited to:
- A category IV or higher hurricane within 50 miles of Ft. Myers, predicted by the National Weather Service
- Major flooding in the building
- When evacuation becomes necessary due to external causes
- Other occurrences threatening the health and safety of our residents and staff
Emergency Supplies and Utilities
The Preserve maintains a seven-day supply of food, blankets, flashlights, water and more as well as a 96-hour supply of fuel and various personal supplies on hand. When the plan is activated in the event of an emergency, an additional seven-day supply will be secured. Leffingwell maintains a 1000 Kw generator with an 8,000-gallon fuel tank which will supply the generator with a run time of 4 days. The generator supplies emergency power to cooling areas, critical refrigerators, elevators, emergency lighting and life safety systems.
Fraud and Scam Tips
As you prepare to weather out the storms, be sure to keep these post-hurricane safety tips in mind to prevent being taken advantage of by scam artists.
- Identity Thieves – Now is the time to shred sensitive paperwork and place other personal information items, such as passports and birth certificates, in a secure location.
- Dishonest Contractors – If your property sustains damage, look to local contractors, get several estimates for repair and don’t make a hasty decision that will most likely be costly.
- Fraudulent Websites and Emails – Beware of phishing or other Internet scams soliciting donations for disaster victims or charities. Do not click on links provided in emails, instead visit the website of legitimate charities directly to provide contributions.
For more examples and information or to report a fraud, contact the Lee County Sheriff’s Office.
Our goal is to ensure the residents at The Preserve are able to enjoy their daily lifestyle without worry, even as the storms roll in. The Preserve has an emergency weather plan in place that protects all our residents, no matter their needs and are ready to implement and provide a safe place to live as we ride out the storm.