In the wake of Hurricane Irma, fourteen residents died at the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills nursing home after a power outage caused the air conditioner not to function. The residents died from heat-related causes. In November, twelve of those deaths were ruled as homicides. In the wake of the tragedy, Governor Rick Scott signed emergency declarations that all nursing homes should have generators capable of running the air-conditioning for at least 96 hours after losing power. Industry officials fought against the mandate, particularly the amount of time that nursing homes had to install generators, some of which required permits. Now, state legislators have made that mandate into law and Governor Rick Scott signed the bills. WPTV reports on the story.
Senate Bill 7028 and House Bill 7099 were both passed through their various legislatures.
On Monday, Governor Rick Scott signed both of the bills into law. The bills made the emergency rules that Governor Scott implemented in the wake of Hurricane Irma a part of permanent Florida law. Scott signed the bills into law at a nursing home in Fort Myers.
In the wake of the hurricane, which left many residents and many nursing homes without power, the Hollywood Hills facility lacked air-conditioning. This led to sweltering conditions within the nursing homes and fourteen deaths. Twelve of these deaths were declared to be the direct result of the conditions and were ruled as homicides.
The bills now make it a requirement of law that nursing homes statewide have a generator capable of powering air-conditioning for a minimum of 96 hours in the event of a power outage.