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Emergency preparedness and what nursing homes need to do

When medically frail and dependent individuals rely on a nursing home's care, it's unacceptable for the nursing home to be ill-prepared for an emergency. Emergencies happen, whether they're due to fire or a snowstorm. The facility needs to have steps in place to protect its residents and to make sure they get the care they need during the emergency situation.

Natural disasters aren't the only kinds of events that can lead to emergencies, but they're important to discuss. Here are a few things that could happen and how a nursing home should prepare for them.

1. Earthquakes

Earthquakes are relatively rare in New York, but they do happen. They tend to range between minor quakes to those of moderate strength. A minor or moderate earthquake might cause just enough shaking to loosen important electrical outlets, to cause someone to fall or to knock items off shelves.

Nursing facilities need to prepare for these events by having an action plan. Following the earthquake, each and every resident's room should be checked. Residents should receive treatment for injuries and monitored for further issues. If the power goes out, an emergency generator is necessary.

2. Snow storms

New York gets snow each year that ranges from a few inches to a few feet. With heavy snowfall comes a risk of slipping and falling, freezing and structural collapses. Nursing homes need to maintain their buildings, salt slick walkways and be prepared with backup generators.

3. Flooding

Finally, consider flooding. Flooding could enter a nursing facility and cause an evacuation. Patients should move quickly to buses or ambulances to shift to another nursing home or to their children's homes, depending on the situation and arrangements made. Waiting too long could result in medical equipment failing, patients getting trapped in deep water and other issues.

These are just a few things nursing homes have to prepare for. Good preparation techniques prevent injuries and deaths.

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