19 Nov 2018

Preparation Amidst Devastation

Written by Jessica Casica

19 Nov 2018

Preparation Amidst Devastation

Written by Jessica Casica

Tragedy has an odd relentless power of putting things into perspective for us. Even just a small graze of a tragic event flourishes all kinds of emotions. We feel relief the damage wasn’t bigger, sadness for us and those affected, scared it will happen again, and stronger being able to say we overcame it. Amidst all these emotions we can’t help but begin to wonder, could I have been more prepared to tackle this unpredictable event? Or if you weren’t personally affected by the tragedy, what if it had been me? 

Recent tragic events in California had startled more than just a few Skilled Nursing Facilities. The California wildfires, Camp Fire and Woolsey Fire, centered near Chico and Malibu, respectively, have cause evacuations for at least 3 SNF. Many others are battling whether they too need to evacuate. A few of AV Resources consultants in Chico, Napa, and Yuba have first-hand dealt with the chaos and worry the fires have caused. With 2 consultants serving as Interim Director of Nursing, their ability to guide and instill confidence in their team gave the facility the strength and inspiration to fight through.

The California Association for Health Facilities supplies resource guides for different counties to prepare Skilled Nursing Facilities for emergencies. The 51-page guide includes basic necessary knowledge for general Disaster Preparedness, resources, and checklists. On page 35 of the resource guide, precautionary steps are illustrated for immediate response of an external fire. To highlight a few of the tips CAHF suggested, I have listed an excerpt directly from the text:

  • Monitor media and local alert system for evacuation reports and instructions. Current fire information can be found at: www.fire.ca.govu002Findex.php
  • Monitor residents and staff for health complications from smoke
  • If fire threat is increasing, activate NHICS
  • Preemptive methods to mitigate smoke and fire risk
    • Close all windows, doors, and vents
    • If using HVAC, set to re-circulate indoor air
    • If possible, use a high efficiency particulate air filter
    • Prepare evacuation bags, records, and ID tags
    • Contact transportation companies to alert them you may need to evacuate
  • In case of immediate threat
  • Activate emergency procedures for evacuation
    • Move residents to a pre-designated staging area for rapid evacuation
    • If you smell gas, and it is safe to do so, shut off the gas. Do not do so unless need is certain as only the gas company can turn it back on
    • Contact your transport companies
    • Contact resident families or responsible parties and LA County DPH HFID
    • Leave a message on your facility phone with a contact number and information regarding your status

While these tips are all stringed together to help minimize damage and ensure safety of all facilities, knowing what to do is not enough. It is important all staff participates in training and drills.  For help with emergency preparedness training, please contact the AV Resources team. 

For those interested in helping the long term care fire victims, GoFundMe pages linked to each individual facility will be listed below.  


References

http:u002Fu002Fwww.cahf.orgu002FPortalsu002F29u002FDisasterPreparednessu002FEOPsu002FCAHF_LAResourceGuide_Final.pdf