March 27 (UPI) — Florida Governor Rick Scott signed laws Monday requiring nursing homes and other assisted living facilities in the state to have alternative power sources.
The rules require senior living facilities to install generators and fuel to power air-conditioning systems, in the event of a power outage as a result of a hurricane or other emergency.
“As we near the 2018 hurricane season, families can now know the facilities responsible for caring for their loved ones will have the resources needed to be fully prepared ahead of any potential storms,” Scott said.
Nursing homes and larger assisted living facilities are required to have enough fuel to run generators for 72 hours, while assisted living facilities with fewer than 17 beds are required to have 48 hours worth of fuel.
The laws also mandate nursing homes have equipment able to control indoor temperatures for 96 hours after an outage and maintain an ambient temperature of at most 81 degrees.
Facilities have until July 1 to comply with the new rules.
The legislation was passed following the deaths of 12 nursing home residents at The Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills in Hollywood, Fla., after the facility lost power in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma.
“I think it’s very important, you know, when you see a tragedy like the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills — you got to figure out what you can do to keep people safe,” Scott said.
In November the Hollywood police department announced it is investigating the deaths as homicides, but no charges have been filed.