Local county managers don't keep emergency plans on record

Tampa Bay emergency management officials either don't keep or refused to show the safety plans for senior homes that they sign off on. This comes after the deaths of 11 people in a South Florida senior home following Hurricane Irma.

TAMPA BAY, Fla.  --  After 11 elderly people died because of an overheated nursing home in Hollywood, pity for Florida's senior community turned to panic.

10News reporter Liz Crawford started digging to find out what emergency plans were in place to keep our seniors safe during a disaster. We discovered the people who are supposed to approve and enforce the plans don't even keep them on file.

After the tragedy in South Florida, politicians hurried to take action. Senator Lauren Book filed a bill requiring nursing homes and assisted living facilities to have generators. Governor Rick Scott issued emergency action requiring all assisted living facilities have generators.

But what plans were in place before the storm?

Sheila Kynion is the Administrator at Highland Lakes Assisted Living in St. Mark Village. Kynion told 10News they have a comprehensive emergency plan.

"At the beginning of each year, we file a plan with Pinellas County Operations and that is reviewed and signed off on," said Kynion.

Nursing homes and assisted living facilities are required to submit their emergency plans to their county's emergency management.

10News requested to see those plans from Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, Polk, Sarasota, and Manatee counties.

Pinellas, Pasco, Polk, Manatee, and Sarasota emergency management told 10News they sign off on plans but don't keep them on file. A Hillsborough spokesperson said their county attorney told them they don't have to disclose their plans.

© 2017 WTSP-TV


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