Unlike Florida, where patients died in heat, NC law requires nursing home generators
Posted September 30
Updated October 1
Raleigh, N.C. — North Carolina law requires nursing homes to have generators and a 72-hour supply of fuel.
This differs from Florida, where people died in a sweltering nursing home that lost power in the wake of Hurricane Irma. As The Tampa Bay Times reported in the storm's aftermath, an attempt to require these generators failed to pass the Florida legislature in 2006 in the face of heavy industry lobbying. Florida's governor has since ordered nursing homes there to obtain generators.
North Carolina's regulations focus more on keeping residents warm and providing power for at least one elevator and various essential functions, as opposed to providing air conditioning, which was a big part of the proposed law in Florida.
There are 436 licensed nursing facilities in North Carolina, according to the state Department of Health and Human Services. They're required to test generators 30 minutes a week. Regulators also check the generators during annual visits, DHHS spokesman Cobey Culton said.
Last year, regulators found 182 "generator-related deficiencies" at state nursing homes, Culton said in an email. None of the generators failed to run, Culton said. In a number of cases facilities were unable to produce records showing that the generator had been tested as required.
This is not an uncommon issue. NPR reported earlier this month that a third of U.S. nursing homes have been cited for failing to inspect or test their generators.