Emergency protocols for Independent Senior Living Facilities in New Orleans

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NEW ORLEANS (WGNO)— The New Orleans Health Department presented new proposed emergency and evacuation mandates for independent living apartments and senior centers.

Emanuel Brown lives at Annunciation Inn—an independent living facility for seniors in New Orleans. Facilities like this where he lives in the future may soon have to follow proposed emergency and evacuation mandates in storms like Hurricane Ida.

“We need it bad,” Brown said.

The City’s Health Department is working with the City Council to update emergency standards for independent senior living facilities. This comes after five tenants died due to negligence at several residential homes.

“Our most vulnerable populations are at the highest risk and greatest risk,” District “C” Councilmember Kristin Gisleson Palmer said.

The proposed law would require evacuation plans, an annual license, sufficient generator and fuel capacity to power elevators, emergency exits, and communication systems at these facilities.

“To get their licenses they’ll have to present an emergency evacuation plan and provide contact information,” Jeanie Donovan, Deputy Director at New Orleans Health Department said.

In addition, building operators will be required more regulations during emergencies like hurricanes.

“You have a manifest that’s checked every single day. There’s someone on-site, there’s a master key, so we have access to every single room,” Gisleson-Palmer said.

“This is something we will be looking at the facilities to uphold their end of the bargain, they can lose their license from the city if they don’t comply,” Donovan said.

This will affect about 75 senior independent living facilities. Nursing homes already have regulations in place. City Council members also feel that another protocol that should be considered is making sure they have emergency contact numbers for a family member or friend of their residents.

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