NEW ORLEANS - During today's regular meeting, the Council approved Ordinance 33,452 and Resolution R-21-388 by Councilmember Kristin Gisleson Palmer, which extend many of the nursing home emergency protocols to independent and residential living facilities, following the death of five tenants during Hurricane Ida.
During hurricanes or natural disasters when declared emergencies or evacuations are issued, vulnerable populations need special attention and care. As storms continue to arrive more quickly and with less warning, these regulations will ensure that care. The resolution also provides support from the New Orleans Health Department to facility owners and property managers as they establish their emergency plans.
The law would require the following for all such New Orleans facilities with six or more units dedicated to seniors or people with disabilities or with half or more units dedicated to permanent supportive housing:
- A point of contact who must always remain on-site (24/7) during declared emergencies
- Daily updates to the Mayor’s Office of Homeland Security once an emergency order has been activated, and immediate updates in case of evacuation
- Submission of emergency operations and evacuation plans to Safety and Permits and to all tenants
- Annual City licensure.
The law will go into effect 30 days from today’s Council approval and before the end of hurricane season. Residential facilities are required to provide updated emergency and evacuation plans when applying for their annual City licensure.
"Immediately after Hurricane Ida, I saw firsthand the negligence of our City's most vulnerable - seniors and those with disabilities - when checking in on all the senior centers and independent living apartments in my district," said District "C" Kristin Gisleson Palmer. "Many of the tenants were physically or financially unable to evacuate, and the owners and operators of the properties left them in inhumane conditions to fend for themselves. I'd like to thank my fellow councilmembers and the City's Health Department for their collaboration on this legislation that helps establish a clear line of communication ahead of the next disaster and ensure this never happens again.