In June, Bishop Gadsden observed Hurricane Awareness Week, which means our team was hard at work planning for hurricane season and putting in place procedures and plans. Many people work together to create an overall preparedness plan that encompasses how team members and residents will evacuate Bishop Gadsden, how they will get to their next destination, and where they are going to be staying.
‘Tis the Season
Hurricane season is inevitable in Charleston, and one must be prepared. The Atlantic Ocean region averages approximately 12 tropical storms annually, with about half of those storms becoming hurricanes. Although the South Carolina coast tends to be less vulnerable than the Florida coast when it comes to hurricane season, but our risk level is still high and it is imperative to be ready to keep our residents safe in the event of a hurricane.
The first step in this process is to request an evacuation plan from residents and begin securing where the Community will be evacuating. The biggest question this year is, “What will evacuation look like in a pandemic?”
Changes in Preparation
Much of our preparation looked the same as years passed. Locking in contracts with hotels and other senior living facilities is regular procedure. This ensures our residents and evacuating team members have a safe place to stay in the event of a hurricane.
This year, our destination changed with the whole Community evacuating to the Columbia area. According to Katie Jayne, director of community life services, who spearheads hurricane preparedness here at Bishop Gadsden, “This will allow our team to be stronger by being the same town and sharing supplies. If we have Covid-19 positive cases when a storm approaches, we have plans to shelter those cases at a different location. This will allow the residents to have dedicated care teams.”
Observing Hurricane Awareness Week gives the Bishop Gadsden team the opportunity to analyze what supplies we already have, what we need in order to successfully evacuate, and in the end, finalize our evacuation plan. This includes evaluating what activities can be safe for residents given the current climate and developing menus for evacuation to ensure our residents and team members are able to relax and enjoy a delicious meal, even during an evacuation.
One of the biggest pieces is being equipped with PPE, including facemasks, gloves and hand sanitizer to go around. Doing everything in our power to keep residents and team members safe is top of mind. “This year we had to think even deeper in infection control practices and guarantee we covered all scenarios in our planning,” says Katie Jayne. “Planning to bring more supplies has grown our list of storage needs. We want to have more supplies on hand than we need.”
Our resident and team member’s safety is the ultimate goal during an evacuation and is one aspect that will never change. “We continue to adapt and adjust as this virus surprises the world,” says Katie. “Our team is amazing and strong, and although we pray to not evacuate this year, we know our team is up to the challenge.” We are so thankful for our incredible hurricane preparedness team that works endlessly year round to prepare the Bishop Gadsden Community and keep us safe.