Blackout induced evacuations raise need for review of regulations

George Murphy (MHA, St. John’s East) wrote a letter to the Minister of Health and Community Services asking for a review of regulations concerning personal care homes.

The recommendation comes following Mr. Murphy’s visit to the Cambridge Estates personal care home during a blackout on Saturday, January 4.

“Residents were being evacuated because there was no back-up power available for the facility,” said Murphy. “This surprised a lot of people, including myself, and I’ve asked the ministers responsible to review the regulations with an eye to making emergency power a requirement.

“I’m glad to hear that the company will now be purchasing a back-up generator, but this does not negate government’s responsibility to ensure personal care homes are properly prepared for emergency situations like we saw this past weekend.”

The provincial operational standards manual for personal care homes requires the homes to develop emergency plans in line with national fire and life safety codes and submit them to local fire departments and government service centres. The Minister of Health has stated that Cambridge Estates had a plan, but NDP Seniors Critic Gerry Rogers (MHA, St. John’s Centre) had a different impression after attending an emergency meeting at Cambridge Estates Tuesday night.

“The owners told us they developed a disaster plan after a power outage last year but never submitted it to government,” said Rogers. “Government must take a more active leadership role in the enforcement of regulations, and in ensuring regulations are sufficient to keep residents safe.

“Residents spoke of the chaos, confusion and fear experienced during the evacuation. With a growing seniors population, this issue needs immediate attention from government.”

Associated Caucus Members: 

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