Keep­ing se­niors safe dur­ing Irma af­ter­math

Spe­cial ac­tions taken af­ter 8 pa­tients died in a nurs­ing home that lost elec­tric­ity

The Daily Courier - - WORLD - By The As­so­ci­ated Press

HOL­LY­WOOD, Fla. — Florida se­niors were ush­ered out of sti­fling as­sisted-liv­ing cen­tres Thurs­day while care­givers fought a lack of air con­di­tion­ing with Pop­si­cles and cool com­presses af­ter eight peo­ple died at a nurs­ing home in the post-hur­ri­cane heat.

Dozens of the state’s se­nior cen­tres still lacked elec­tric­ity in the af­ter­math of Hur­ri­cane Irma, and sev­eral fa­cil­i­ties were forced to evac­u­ate. While de­tec­tives sought clues to the deaths, emer­gency work­ers went door to door to look for any­one else who was at risk.

Fifty-seven res­i­dents were moved from a sub­ur­ban Fort Laud­erdale as­sisted-liv­ing fa­cil­ity with­out power to two nearby homes where power had been re­stored. Owner Ralph Mar­rin­son said all five of his Florida fa­cil­i­ties lost elec­tric­ity af­ter Irma. Work­ers scram­bled to keep pa­tients cool with emer­gency stocks of ice and Pop­si­cles.

“FPL has got to have a bet­ter plan for power,” he said, re­fer­ring to the state’s largest util­ity, Florida Power & Light. “We’re sup­posed to be on a pri­or­ity list, and it doesn’t come and it doesn’t come, and frankly it’s very scary.”

Stepped-up safety checks were con­ducted around the state af­ter eight deaths at the Re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion Cen­ter at Hol­ly­wood Hills, which shocked Florida’s top lead­ers as they sur­veyed de­struc­tion from the storm.

Older peo­ple can be more sus­cep­ti­ble to heat be­cause their bod­ies do not ad­just to tem­per­a­tures as well as those of younger peo­ple. They do not sweat as much and are more likely to have med­i­cal con­di­tions that change how the body re­sponds to heat. They are also more likely to take med­i­ca­tion that af­fects body tem­per­a­ture.

Most peo­ple who die from high body tem­per­a­ture, known as hy­per­ther­mia, are over 50, ac­cord­ing to the Na­tional In­sti­tutes of Health.

Trump vis­its

NAPLES, Fla. — Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump doled out hoa­gies and hand­shakes in the swel­ter­ing Florida heat on Thurs­day as he took a first­hand tour of Irma’s dev­as­ta­tion and lib­er­ally dis­pensed con­grat­u­la­tory words about the fed­eral and state re­cov­ery ef­fort.

Trump, who was in and out of the state in about three hours, got an aerial view of the wa­ter-del­uged homes along Florida’s south­west­ern coast from his he­li­copter, then drove in his mo­tor­cade along streets lined with felled trees, dark­ened traf­fic lights and shut­tered stores.

Walk­ing along a street in Naples Es­tates with his wife, Me­la­nia, the pres­i­dent en­coun­tered piles of bro­ken sid­ing and soggy fur­ni­ture sit­ting on a front porch, and res­i­dents and vol­un­teers who were happy to get a pres­i­den­tial visit.

Nearly 2.7 mil­lion homes and busi­nesses, about one-in-four Florida cus­tomers, were still with­out power Thurs­day.

“We are there for you 100 per cent,” Trump said be­fore don­ning gloves and help­ing to hand out sand­wiches to lo­cal res­i­dents from a lunch line un­der a canopy. “I’ll be back here nu­mer­ous times. This is a state that I know very well.”

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