Air Conditioning Generators Now Required for Florida Nursing Homes
On Monday, March 26, 2018, Governor Rick Scott signed a bill that required all nursing homes to have backup power generators in case of an emergency. In the wake of Hurricane Irma, 12 patients at the Rehabilitation Center of Hollywood Hills died in oppressive heat due to no backup power for their A/Cs. Facilities have until July 1 to comply.
The Tragedy of Hollywood Hills Nursing Home
The storm knocked out the nursing home’s air conditioners in September, causing the temperatures in the second floor to soar to over 98 degrees. Under federal regulations, it shouldn’t be higher than 81 degrees. Hollywood Hills had a generator, and when that went out, the staff had tried using portable coolers. But those chillers could only emit 15 tons of the 125 tons of cooling capacity needed to keep residents safe according to William Scott Crawford, an engineer hired to investigate the incident. The residents of the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills struggled in sweltering heat where twelve eventually died in what the Broward Medical Examiner’s Office then ruled as a homicide. At least 10 of those 12 lived on the second floor of the facility.
What does the bill state?
Governor Rick Scott signed bills on Monday, March 26, 2018, implementing emergency rules and procedures in the wake of the incident in Hollywood Hills nursing homes. The new rules mandate that nursing homes and assisted living facilities must have an alternative power supply capable of maintaining the temperatures at 81 degrees or less for a minimum of 4 days. Portable power supplies could also be used, however, they must provide at least 30 square feet of cooling space for each resident. Assisted living facilities with fewer than 17 beds are required to have two days worth of fuel. Though the new rules mean residents are safer, consumers still need to observe how the requirements are implemented and enforced. Extreme precaution should be enforced as much as possible in the wake of a storm, especially when caring for the elderly.
Why is this a good thing?
These emergency rules should help prevent further instances of loss of life due to hot temperatures. After the incident, the license of the Hollywood Hills nursing home was revoked by the state, which charged them for not doing enough to keep residents cool and safe. While it’s not clear to pinpoint who is at fault, one aspect can surely hold blame: the lack of preparation. To prevent incidents like this, nursing homes and assisted living facilities must ensure that they have a backup power supply or at least enough equipment to better cool their facilities when the power is out after a storm.
What we can do to help
Air Boca is family owned and operating since 1989. We’ve been servicing Boca Raton for nearly three decades, and we’re proud to do our part in our community. In the wake of Hurricane Irma, we are more determined than ever to serve our customers to make sure they don’t suffer in the heat. We install solar-assisted air-conditioning systems, energy efficient mini-split systems, and air handling units to make sure cold air is effectively distributed in your building. So give us a call at 561-750-1625 or visit us at our website at www.airboca.com to install the systems you need to better protect your home against the sweltering heat.