Story of a California Nursing Facility Evacuated Due to Wildfire Highlights Importance of Emergency Preparedness

November 30, 2018 | Aging Services Risk, Quality, & Safety Guidance

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​A director at a post-acute nursing center in Paradise, California, had to frantically secure emergency shelter for 91 residents and 30 or so staff members due to the wildfire approaching the facility just eight miles away, as reported in an article published by the Los Angeles Times on November 17, 2018. According to the article, a fleet of vans was deployed to assist in the center's evacuation, but was turned around because of the danger, which left the director of admissions and marketing of the center quickly contacting all neighboring facilities for help. The center's evacuation process involves multiple steps, such as the medical records director bagging each resident's documentation, a medication nurse bagging each resident's drugs, and a certified nursing assistant bagging each resident a change of clothes, all of which are secured to the residents' wheelchairs as they are lined up outside awaiting transport. However, after most of the ambulatory residents were transferred, the center received an order to shelter in place, so residents who use wheelchairs were taken back inside to avoid the toxic smoke from the approaching wildfire. At 10 a.m., authorities arrived with the order to immediately evacuate the area.

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