Hurricane Preparedness at Grand Oaks of Okeechobee


In March, 2018, while serving as Florida’s governor, Rick Scott implemented new regulations regarding hurricane preparedness for assisted living facilities and nursing homes in Florida.

Scott put the new rules in place after 12 residents at the Hollywood Hills Rehabilitation Center in Broward County perished from heat exposure following Hurricane Irma in 2017. The residents’ deaths raised serious questions of whether emergency preparedness measures were adequate in senior care facilities throughout Florida.

After Hurricane Harvey struck Texas and Louisiana in 2017, stricter federal emergency planning requirements were put in place. However, because nursing homes and assisted living communities are primarily under state regulation, the newly-implemented federal guidelines were not sufficiently adopted by all senior care facilities in the U.S. Scott’s regulations require all facilities to have a backup generator and detailed Evacuation and Emergency Plan (EPP) in place.

The 2021 hurricane season is predicted to produce up to five major hurricanes that are category 3, 4 or 5, with winds of 111 mph or higher, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

With that said, we feel it’s important for everyone to know that Grand Oaks of Okeechobee takes the health and safety of our residents very seriously. We meet or exceed both state and federal EEP standards regarding emergency action plans and hurricane preparedness. We have both a backup generator and detailed EEP in place that has been approved by our county. All necessary paperwork documenting our compliance with the new state regulations is on file at the Florida Agency for Healthcare Administration.

In addition to an emergency backup generator and EEP, we have:

  • Solid, CBS construction
  • 100% hurricane-proof impact windows
  • Emergency call systems in each room
  • A location outside of a flood or evacuation zone

Having an EEP in place during a disaster or power outage is key to maintaining the health and safety of our residents. If you or a loved one resides in an assisted living community, be sure to ask if they have an EEP in place and a backup generator in the event electrical power is lost.

For more information about hurricane preparedness at Grand Oaks of Okeechobee, please contact us at 863-824-6770.