The state of Florida is known for its devastating hurricanes. This past September, when Hurricane Irma knocked out the power at a nursing home in Hollywood, FL, eight residents died.The Backup Power Law for nursing homes in Florida was consequently signed by Governor Rick Scott on March the 26th of this year. The bill requires that all of the state’s elderly care and nursing facilities have a generator and the fuel necessary to keep residents cool and comfortable at, at least, 81° Fahrenheit or lower for a minimum of four days.
The storm that catalyzed the bill, Hurricane Irma, was quite severe. The strongest hurricane in the history of the Atlantic basin in fact.
The tragedy occurred when, early Sunday Morning, Hurricane Irma knocked out the facility’s air conditioners.The result was skyrocketing second-floor-temperatures exceeding 95° Fahrenheit. Oddly enough the facility did actually have a generator. But it was far too small and underpowered to cool the entire building.
The Financial Impact of the Backup Power Law
There are well over 3,000 elderly care and nursing home facilities in Florida, so this is a big financial deal. The Florida Department Of Elderly Affairs estimates it could cost upwards of $300 million for all of the state’s facilities to comply with the new law.
The law originally stated that assisted living facilities and nursing homes had to in compliance by or before November the 15th of this year or else face a $1,000 a day fine. But a court ruling this past October sided with the nursing homes and assisted living facilities in their requests for an extension, allowing them until January of next year to comply.
In regards to the sort of fuels that facilities are required to have on hand, the new bill would allow the use of both traditional types of gasoline as well as piped natural gas. If the new law comes in conflict with any local ordinances relating to the amount of fuel that an individual or business is allowed to store, nursing homes and elderly care facilities are to store the maximum amount of fuel that they’re legally allowed.
But a state administrative judge sided last October with nursing homes that had challenged the tight deadlines. This allowed nursing homes until the first of next year if they file an extension.
Most facilities have yet to comply and, as of this year, only 200 facilities have installed the required equipment. Initially, the problem was legal confusion. Nursing home operators were unsure whether or not the Florida bill would pass. Even when it did, they expected it to get struck down. But it hasn’t. So, now the problem is mostly a matter of time and money. Many facilities are having a hard time finding service providers to help them install the necessary fuel tanks.
If you’re in this situation, or if you or your elderly care facility is in need of fuel tank services, give EPAC Environmental Services a call today at <a href=”tel:9549747055″>(954) 974-7055</a>.