How Aegis Living Prepares for Natural Disasters
Being a West Coast company has its perks. Beautiful weather, access to the ocean, lakes, mountains, and desert climate, you’ll find it here. Though we’re lucky to avoid hurricane season, we have our own set of potential natural disasters to prepare for each year: earthquakes, fires, and unpredictable snowfall.
We are also incredibly fortunate to employ a group of compassionate, dedicated people who commit to resident safety in the most trying of circumstances. During this past February’s snow storm in Western Washington, many members of the teams packed up and hunkered down for multiple nights to care for their seniors. General Managers shuttled their staff to and from work so they could get in and home safely. When wild fires spread throughout California, evacuated communities were welcomed with open arms by their nearest sister community. The care and safety of your loved one is our number on priority. And we love to serve.
What happens when an emergency touches down near one of our communities? Chief Operating Officer, Tom Laborde shares how we manage emergency preparedness at Aegis Living.
Training procedures for staff in emergency evacuations.
At Aegis Living, we have recently updated our Emergency Manual that identifies the process for emergency evacuations and relocation. We orient all new staff to our emergency and disaster processes and train the existing team quarterly.
Reasons evacuation is mandatory:
- Local authorities call for an evacuation,
- State licensing requires that we evacuate,
- The General Manager, in consultation with the Vice President of Operations decides—out of an abundance of caution—that the residents must leave the community for safety or security reasons.
Emergency plan when evacuation is necessary and what events start these procedures?
Though we can never predict all circumstances, we have very clear protocols for safeguarding residents in case of fire, power outages, natural disasters, and other situations that threaten resident safety. The General Manager or their proxy initiates specific services needed to ensure resident safety. Plans address such vital needs as care and medication services; emergency food preparation and hydration; and addressing the specific needs of the frail elderly—oxygen, hospice care, and dementia.
How does the community communicate the emergency plan with the residents and their families?
With the updated Emergency Manual, we are rolling out new emergency response training for residents and family members. We will stage mock resident evacuations annually, and provide a summary of the drill to residents and their family members with plenty of advanced notice.
We send family members a letter quarterly with their billing statement, asking for updated cell phone numbers. This allows us to update our emergency text messaging system. This system provides family members with information on community emergencies and informs them where they can find additional information.
Partial list of resources available at our communities to sustain residents in an emergency:
- Emergency text system to alert family members, powers of attorney, and staff of community emergency and where they can find additional information.
- Disaster kit, including lighting, batteries, special tools and supplies to use when comforting and evacuating residents.
- Evacuation chairs at each stairwell to safely assist moving residents downstairs when the elevator is not to be used.
- Satellite phone is used when cell towers are down.
- A comprehensive 72-hour self-reliance procedure booklet.
- Evacuation plans, including local bus agreements to arrive at the community for relocation to evacuation sites—both within Aegis Living and at local hotels.
- Seven days of drinkable water.
- Food to sustain residents up to seven days.
We take a multi-channel approach to update families since we can’t guarantee what platforms will be working. Our comprehensive emergency communications strategy includes the text message program, as well as real-time updates to our social media channels. These help to keep families informed about new developments. The Aegis Living website will show an emergency notification section on the homepage that families can refer to for updates when situations occur.
Aegis Living is dedicated to investing in new technologies and practices that ensure the safety of our residents, families, employees, and visitors. To tour a community near you, contact us to schedule a visit.