Holiday Is Hurricane-Ready, so You Don’t Have to Be
Older adults who live alone are especially vulnerable during hurricanes. Holiday Retirement is proud to be a safe haven for residents when severe weather strikes. In our 50 years, we’ve weathered dozens of hurricanes and refined our hurricane preparedness plans to account for every detail around comfort, resources, and safety. Residents at Holiday Retirement communities and their loved ones rest easy during hurricane season, knowing we’re taking care of everything.
Don’t Weather The Storm Alone
As we age, we become more susceptible to negative outcomes during severe weather. A survey by AARP found 13 million Americans aged 50 or older need help evacuating their home in a hurricane. This number increases with age.
Another survey on natural disaster preparedness in older adults found that many seniors are ill-prepared for severe weather. Two-thirds of people over age 50 have no emergency plan, and more than one-third don’t have the water, food, and medical supplies they need in an emergency. About 15% of older adults use electrically powered medical devices, which would be impacted in a power outage.
Our Hurricane Disaster Plan: Stay Safe With Holiday by Your Side
Living in a Holiday Retirement community means there’s always a plan in place and people to help you. We have proven hurricane disaster plans, back-up generators, and an abundance of resources and supplies, but best of all, we have staff who consider you their second family and will do everything possible to keep you safe and comfortable.
Hurricanes don’t take Holiday senior living communities by surprise. We’re in a constant state of readiness for any type of natural disaster. With the first inkling of a hurricane, we set the ball in motion to prepare for sheltering-in-place or evacuating during a storm.
Holiday Retirement’s Disaster & Emergency Team works night and day during an impending hurricane threat to help communities prepare and recover from storms. “We’re receiving reports on the potential severity of a storm eight to ten days out,” said Todd Howell, director of procurement for Holiday Retirement communities. “There’s a tremendous amount of prep time, and certainly beforehand with food service. Well before the event, our teams are stocking up.”
All hands are on deck during an emergency. Holiday senior living staff follow a detailed, step-by-step hurricane preparedness checklist to prepare their residents and building for a storm. Communities are well-stocked with palettes of water and food. Gutters, drainage pumps, battery-powered equipment, and backup power sources are all checked for optimum function and operation, and the building is secured.
Our size and long-standing history in the industry allows us the resources and finances to pull every lever possible to keep residents safe. “We have expertise and budgets standing behind those sources,” says Howell. “Smaller places don’t have the finances and resources to put people up, cater meals, or pay for evacuation busses. Last minute stuff isn't cheap, but we’re not going to let our residents down.”
Keeping You Safe During the Storm
Holiday Retirement does not take evacuation lightly. We know there are risks associated with both sheltering in place and evacuating, especially in older populations. Our emergency team follows guidance from national and local weather authorities and looks to local ordinances for evacuation mandates.
Our Disaster & Emergency Team is poised for action in either case. They coordinate communication, resources, and additional staff during hurricanes and keep residents and their loved ones well-informed throughout.
With 260 senior living communities, there’s always a welcoming, temporary home for evacuated residents. Our Disaster & Emergency Team works behind the scenes to determine what nearby sister communities are out of the danger zone and have vacant rooms to accommodate additional independent living residents.
Holiday Retirement Evacuation Plan
If an evacuation is necessary, within a few hours, residents are prepared to pack a bag for a few days with clothes, medication, and other necessities.
Holiday independent living communities contract with a bus broker in New York that has their finger on the pulse of the entire U.S. motorcoach market. We reserve top-of-the-line chartered motorcoaches that are new, nice, and comfortable to transport residences.
“We will deploy buses wherever we need them, and pay a handsome price for it,” said Howell. “We make the phone call that we need buses to go, and they’re at the front doorstep waiting for that evacuation.”
Howell describes the evacuation buses as Noah’s Arc. “Everyone’s pet is on the bus too -- dogs, cats, even parrots. They’re part of it.”
The underbelly of the bus is packed with a wealth of food, water, shelf-stable snacks, hurricane preparedness kits, and staples to make sure the receiving community has plenty of resources for everyone.
In light of the pandemic, we've enhanced our emergency evacuation plan for this hurricane season. All residents and staff will be screened for symptoms prior to evacuating. Motorcoaches will operate at half capacity with spaced out seating. Stringent social distancing measures will be taken at the sister community. “We don’t take it lightly,” said Howell. “We’re prepared for this year with that additional need.”
Communities Helping Each Other
The Holiday spirit shines bright during troubled times. We all rally together to support each other. When an independent living community is evacuated, the receiving community throws a welcoming party for their temporary neighbors. Evacuation buses arrive to cheering, music, and welcome signs. New friends are made over shared meals, activities, and games.
The retirement community welcomes bus drivers into the mix too. “We offer the bus driver something they can’t get anywhere else,” said Howell. “They stay with us like they would a hotel. Relax, get off the clock, have a hot meal, hot coffee, play poker, bingo, whatever. You’re a part of the family that lives with us for a few days.”
Receiving sister communities are stocked with additional emergency supplies, specialized menus to feed more people, and any additional support needed to provide the best service possible during the emergency.
Back at home, crews are performing damage assessments and getting the community back in order, and when everything is determined safe, the motorcoaches transport residents back home.
Staying Put: Sheltering in Place at Our Independent Living Communities
If residents aren’t evacuating, our senior living communities are prepared to safely ride out the storm together. With an impending storm, community teams get right to work on their hurricane preparedness plan, making sure gutters and drains are cleaned, stocking up on food and supplies, boarding up windows, checking generators and pumps, and securing outdoor furniture and equipment.
Teams at Holiday Retirement communities are on site around the clock before, during, and after a hurricane. Our staff are dedicated to residents and regularly make personal sacrifices to ensure they’re safety during severe weather. “I’ve known general managers who’ve stayed in a community for four days knowing their house has been flooded and their car is a complete loss, but they don’t leave the building that whole time,” said Howell. “The dedication while knowing you’re so impacted personally, but you're staying in the community four straight days. That happens.”
Return and Recovery
Recovery is swift and safe in our senior living communities. We have strong relationships with contractors and utilities companies to repair any building damage, attend to downed power lines, or restore power as soon as possible. Every community is equipped with back-up generators, which will keep a flow of electricity going for those that have sheltered-in-place and experienced a power outage. Staff are onsite around the clock to make sure everyone is safe and recovery efforts are moving along.
Holiday independent living communities are at the same level of critical need as a hospital or school when it comes to supplies like food after a storm. “ When there’s still chaos in the area due to power outages or closed roads, [our supplier] is putting all their effort behind just taking care of hospitals and companies like us,” said Howell. “The pizza restaurant down the street isn’t getting that level of service until everything is back to normal.”
We’re always amazed at staff and residents’ resilience and great attitude during difficulties, but also the way our surrounding communities come through for us. “Another bright spot; we get surprised when a community crew or church knocks on our door during these events,” said Howell. “We’re hustling trying to keep everyone safe and happy, and they’re offering to volunteer.washing dishes or cleaning up the yard. The community really comes out without even asking just knowing there’s a community with seniors where a hurricane just hit. ‘Let’s go and help them out.’”
With 50 Years Experience, Holiday Retirement Is Prepared for Hurricane Season
Holiday senior living is here for residents 365 days a year, and their loved ones gain great peace of mind knowing they’re safe and comfortable during the most difficult circumstances. “I’m so proud of the safety that we provide our residents,” said Howell. “There’s nothing more important.” Take a tour of one of our award-winning Holiday Retirement communities, and see why our residents say they wish they’d moved sooner.
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