Maybe it’s just me; I am getting older but I am starting to say things like “I can’t ever remember so many tornados, this much rain and all of these hurricanes.” It seems like the past few years we have been on hyper speed in regard to the frequency of natural disasters, which could just be an issue of perception with live video coming now from all corners of the world. But when you think of the tsunamis, floods and tornados of the recent past and the deaths associated with these, you have to wonder in each situation how senior living residents were evacuated—if it was even possible.
All that makes the news are the tragic bus crashes of seniors trying to escape or those that choose not to move residents and endanger their lives.
Disaster plans are typically created by the operators, leaving life safety plans and exit signage to the designers and architects. It seems like we have taken the easier road instead of working through the possible worst case scenarios with operations teams to ensure best possible outcomes. Hospitals do mock disasters with the planning and IT teams as integral parts to playing out a successful move of patients in the event of an evacuation.
I would challenge every designer and architect in senior living to go past what we are required to do when it comes to life safety and work with the operators to ensure that the crisis, if and when it happens, is handled as successful as possible.