Hurricane Dorian: Mayor Suarez checks in with Miami seniors
Miami Mayor Francis Suarez hugged, cheek-kissed and joked with residents at a Flagami low-income apartment building Friday afternoon.
“They see me kind of as their foster grandson,” said Suarez, who was greeted with selfies and applause from a group at Palermo Lakes.
The mayor was finishing up a day of touring assisted living facilities, nursing homes and apartment complexes like Palermo Lakes, where low-income seniors reside.
He said the city learned a lesson after Hurricane Irma in 2017, when some nursing homes in the state lost power and several residents at a Broward County nursing home died after the facility’s air conditioning went out.
“We learned that our elderly are the most vulnerable,” he said. “They don’t have the means to get water, ice and food. We have made sure to have those provisions on hand.”
State lawmakers passed a mandate last year that requires all nursing homes and assisted living facilities to have backup generators or power sources for air conditioning, after the 2017 tragedy. Under those rules, nursing homes and larger assisted living facilities are required to have enough fuel to run generators for 72 hours, though assisted living facilities with fewer than 17 beds are required to only have 48 hours worth of fuel. Nursing homes are required to have equipment that can tamp temperatures at 81 degrees for 96 hours after an outage.
Buildings like Palermo Lakes, which lost power for a day and a half after Irma’s landfall, aren’t subject to those requirements, which are limited to long-term care facilities. But this time they have a generator that can run for four days, according to facility manager Delia Sanchez.
“They know that they can call us ... and they have everything they need,” she said. “This building is just 10 years, 11 years old.”
Suarez also visited three assisted living facilities Friday morning as part of his tour. Those facilities — Villa Margo I, II and VIII — have portable generators and are considered to have fully implemented generators, according to AHCA state records.