Who is responsible for organising a safe evacuation of an aged care facility? The facility or the emergency services?
Last Monday night the Arcare Peregian Springs aged care facility came under direct threat from bushfire burning in the adjacent reserve.
The story as written, describes what must have been a challenging night for the fire services. A occupied 90 suite residential facility which offers a range of services including respite care and dementia support. In many ways, some of the most challenging patients to support in-situ or evacuate.
Evacuation of an aged care facility takes time, planning and understanding. Every evacuee has special needs, and every staff member is potentially also thinking about a family of their own in a nearby house.
Over the past 30 years, I have watched many organisations take a stance where they have the ability and expertise to look after their own destiny in a emergency situation. Workplaces and schools practice lockdowns and evacuations. Health departments and hospitals work together to plan for the worst.
Is aged care lagging in ensuring their own safety? In the Peregian Springs case, I am convinced the expertise and dedication of the fire services, supported by the other emergency responders saved both the property and lives.
Did the facility act too late? Its worth a thought.