Great expectations

Jennifer L. Whytlaw
Within the 21st Century, New Jersey has been involved in 20 federally declared environmental disaster events by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA 2017). Of those 20, three have been major tropical-induced events that made direct or indirect landfall in the State. The most recent extra-tropical system (i.e. Superstorm Sandy) made direct landfall along the southern part of the New Jersey coast and caused more destruction to ecological, social, and infrastructure systems than some
more » ... tems than some municipalities had seen in all prior events combined. Forty-six percent of the total deaths reported during Sandy, or 45 people out of the total 93 deaths, were seniors over the age of 65 (Greenberg 2014c). A regulation was passed in New Jersey in 2007 that required long-term care facilities to develop emergency operations plans (N.J.A.C. 8:39 and 8:43E). However, the legislation lacks details of enforcement needed to ensure facilities are meeting the outlined requirements. Requirements include review of plans with local emergency managers, but officials are not provided a mechanism to demand changes be made to a private facility's plan. The most crucial issue is the lack of protocols to ensure multiple facilities are not simultaneously reliant upon the same resources under a disaster within the same municipality. This research examines the level of preparedness of senior facilities to respond to environmental natural hazards in New Jersey as well as their coordination with the local emergency responder community. The research uses mixed-methods to identify overall preparedness. The findings indicate that there is coordination between local (i.e. municipal or county) emergency managers and senior facilities located within their jurisdictions. The level of coordination varies depending on the MCC Region of the State the facility is located in as well as the individual importance coordination and collaboration are perceived by both the facility administrators as well as the emergency managers.
doi:10.7282/t3zk5m4s fatcat:6t6iggjxwzgzvjxsdtmiiroa6y