In Florida, many forecasters are predicting that Hurricane Irma will be at least as destructive as Hurricane Andrew was in 1992. Andrew made landfall as a Category 5 storm, causing $26.5 billion in damages and 65 deaths—the worst hurricane on record in the state.
Local treatment centers are quickly executing their emergency plans to ensure safety and to support recovery.
“Caron takes hurricane season very seriously, and we prepare way in advance for any storm that may pose eminent danger to one of our facilities,” Bradley F. Sorte, executive director of Caron Renaissance in Boca Raton, Fla., and the beachfront Caron Ocean Drive facility, told Behavioral Healthcare Executive on Thursday evening.
According to Sorte, Ocean Drive patients will be evacuated to the Renaissance location sometime Friday. The Caron website now offers a message alerting visitors to the evacuation. Caron leaders perform hurricane drills regularly so when the time comes, the staff is prepared to act according to the strategic emergency plan that’s been laid out in advance, Sorte says. The evacuation and shelter-in-place procedures are also guided by the direction of the county.
“Our dedicated hurricane team, consisting of management, clinicians and facility managers will be on the ground, prepared to hunker-down with patients throughout the storm,” says Sorte. “Once it is safe to travel, a second team will be on site to relieve the hurricane team and assist with cleanup and return to operations.”
In advance of Hurricane Irma, Caron leaders stocked up on supplies and offered supportive counseling to patients and their families. Sorte says the support is especially important for those experiencing a hurricane for the first time.
Irma is expected to reach south Florida in the early hours of Sunday morning as a major Category 4 hurricane with damaging winds up to 156 miles per hour, causing power outages and destruction of homes and buildings.