Healthcare Facility Disaster Planning:
|State of Florida Statutes|
Disaster Plan Reviews
View a nursing home evacuation drill.
Pinellas County Emergency Management reviews all healthcare facility plans on an annual basis as required by state statute. Assisted Living Facilities may receive a letter indicating that they only need to fill out the letter, attach their evacuation agreement, and return it to Emergency Management. All other facilities are required to send in their plans annually. The approval certificate you received last year shows the next review date. Plans are only accepted 14 days in advance of the review date on your previous approval certificate. You may mail your plan in, bring it to our office, or send by email to email@example.com. We will provide you with a letter stating we are in receipt of your plan.
Monday – Friday between 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.
If you are unable to arrange travel to our office during these times, you MUST call the office (464-5550) in advance to set an appointment for these activities. You may mail or send by email to firstname.lastname@example.org your plans to our office in lieu of dropping them off in-person.
We have 60 days to review your plan and get it back to you. You will either get a letter stating your plan has been approved and the cost for the review (you must pay by cashier’s check or money order) or you will get your plan back with a letter indicating the areas that are not in compliance.
What We Review
We use the state statute, AHCA outline for your particular healthcare facility, and the Pinellas County Healthcare Criteria to review your plan. (Statutes with outlines are posted at the top of this page.) These are the minimum requirements needed to approve your plan. Please download the outline link above for your type of facility, fill in the page numbers indicating where the information can be found and insert the outline at the front of your plan. This will ensure that you have included all required information and allow us to quickly review your plan.
Some common errors we see in reviewing plans are:
- EM Resource. Insert registration page in your plan!
- Missing Fire Plan Approval. Approval must be obtained from your local fire marshal prior to sending the plan to us. It is not the same as your fire inspection.
- Coordination between Plan and Agreements. If your plan says you are evacuating to XYZ Facility, your agreement needs to be with XYZ Facility.
- Evacuation Agreements. If you are in an evacuation zone, you must have an agreement with a facility in a non-evacuation zone for evacuation. If you are in a non-evacuation zone, you can have an agreement with anyone.
- Water. You must have three gallons of water available per person per day for seven days; one of those gallons must be potable (drinkable) water. This water must be on hand, not to be delivered. You may use collapsible containers that you fill at the onset of a storm. You may also count the water in hot water heaters as long as you isolate the heaters prior to losing water pressure. For the Non-potable water (for washing) you may use sinks, tubs or plastic tubs with plastic liners.
- Transportation. You must address how you are going to get your residents to the shelter.
- Assistance. If you state in your plan that someone is going to help you, for example with evacuation location or transportation, then you must include a current signed agreement with them.
- Agreements. The statue defines the agreements as, current signed agreement. Even if your agreement is for five years, you should have the agreement reviewed (dated and initialed) annually.
- Shelter in Place. Your plan should include the actions you will take to shelter in place as well as your evacuation plan. In most cases you will not evacuate unless there is a severe storm. We have only evacuated at level C once in Pinellas County.
- Extra information in your Plan. If your information contains outdated information (over 1 year old), please remove it and use a history folder at your facility. The plan you turn into Emergency Management should contain the most current and up to date information you have on file. If this information is over one year old, it needs to be updated.
If you need assistance with your plan, please call us; we can help you. We cannot find an evacuation location for you, but we can make some suggestions and provide you with a list of non-evacuation facilities.
Some evacuation levels have changed in the county due to better elevation information. If you are a hospital or nursing home, the evacuation level that shows up on the general evacuation-level maps or website's may not be your precise evacuation level. We check your location specifically to determine your evacuation level when we review your plan. If you are concerned that you may not know your correct evacuation level, please provide us with the finished floor elevation of your facility and we will check it for you. If you are interested in a variance or vertical evacuation, please call us.
There are several ways we can notify you of impending evacuations or emergency situations other than the television or radio. If you provide us with your e-mail address or fax number, we can put you on the list to receive our situation reports (sitreps). These reports are sent out when there is an active weather system that may threaten us and as a once-a-month test. If you would like to be added to our sitrep list, please e-mail us at email@example.com or fax us at (727) 464-4024.
How will you receive disaster information if your power is out? What if you evacuate out of the area? Using the Alert Pinellas, an emergency notification service, Pinellas County residents can receive emergency information via text messages on their cell phones.
To receive the alerts, call (866) 484-3264 from the cell phone you wish to register and enter your Pinellas County zip code. If you don’t have free text messaging on your cell phone, you will be charged per message for these alerts. The emergency notification service does not work with pre-paid or pay-as-you-go cell phones.
Signing up is quick and you can opt-out easily at any time. Subscribing to this service will allow Pinellas County to let you know when you have to evacuate due to a hurricane and when it’s safe to go home. You will also be notified about other local emergencies.
Disaster Plan Guidance Tool for Assisted Living Facilities & Skilled Nursing Facilities
There are multiple tools available for developing disaster plans for emergencies such as hurricanes and other disasters. These tools include software packages, classes offered at St. Pete College, conferences, and workshops offered throughout the year by multiple vendors. These tools can provide healthcare administrators, corporate representatives, owners, and key emergency management staff with powerful information for developing all-hazards emergency plans. The recently created disaster plan guides for Assisted Living Facilities and Skilled Nursing Facilities are guides to help organize a plan in a way that will give functionality to your teams. While this is not a substitute for training and education, it can help get the process started.
- Hurricane Elena and the Evacuation of Maria Manor Nursing Home: Where they went, what they took, and the lessons learned
Please tell us when you have evacuated and to what location. Also, if you have problems after the storm with damage, loss of utilities, etc., please contact us by calling the Citizens Information Center at (727) 464-4333 and telling the operator that you want to speak to someone in EOC Healthcare. We will need to know what your situation is and what type of help you need. You may also use the emergency EOC number you were provided.
Pinellas County Emergency Operations Center
Department of Emergency Management
During an emergency activation call the
Citizen Information Center at (727) 464-4333.