New Generator Rule Enforced in Florida Nursing Homes

Florida is enforcing new rules requiring nursing homes to have emergency generators. This action comes in the wake of Hurricane Irma which left 10 nursing home residents dead due to sweltering heat in buildings that had no power due to storm-related outages.

We applaud this potentially life-saving move, and offer a friendly reminder: Permanently-installed generators should be connected to lightning protection systems.

Florida already requires nursing homes to install lightning protection systems where required by NFPA 780. Protecting generators helps assure they will work when called upon. The generator will need to be connected to both the building’s power ground and to the lightning protection system ground. If the generator is outside of the building, air terminals may have to be installed on top of the generator and surge protective devices installed on both the power lines and any control wiring running between the generator and the building.

This is not a do-it-yourself job. Contact a lightning protection professional certified by Lightning Protection Institute.

Florida’s top health care regulator, in the aftermath of the nursing home deaths that followed Hurricane Irma, says the state will “aggressively” enforce new rules that require nursing homes and assisted living facilities to have generators.
Justin Senior, secretary of Agency for Health Care Administration, on Friday explained to nursing home officials about an emergency rule that will require the facilities to have backup power that can last up to four days. Ten residents of a South Florida nursing home died amid the sweltering heat in power outages after Irma.

Senior said that Irma’s changing path showed that nursing homes could not easily evacuate someplace else. He says the state does not expect nursing homes to provide air-conditioning to their entire building but they must keep patients safe.

Image courtesy of Northeast Lightning Protection.