Floods force evacuations in NE, OK facilities

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Several long-term care facilities across Oklahoma and Nebraska were damaged by flash floods after severe weather and high winds tore through the nation's midsection last weekend, forcing resident evacuations. Staff and emergency responder actions helped prevent serious injuries.

Nearly all of Oklahoma's Quinton Manor Nursing home's staff and 23 residents were moved to an adjacent wing after part of the facility flooded following a partial roof collapse. Pittsburg County Emergency Manager Kevin Enloe told local reporters the facility was the hardest hit in the Quinton area.

Meanwhile, residents of two Deshler, NE, assisted living facilities were evacuated to a nearby high school Sunday after a series of violent storms tore through the area. Firefighters reportedly worked through the night to save the residents, all of whom have since been relocated to temporary shelters.

During last year's tornado season, a government report asserted that the deadly tornado that destroyed a Joplin, MO, nursing home in 2011 demonstrated that long-term care facilities need to have specially designed shelter areas. The report strongly recommended that upgraded shelters be installed in new and existing nursing homes and similar buildings in tornado hazard zones.

In response to the Joplin tornado and other disasters, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services last year proposed comprehensive emergency preparedness requirements for healthcare facilities. Some provider associations pushed back, saying that compliance could be too costly for facilities that would have to make substantial physical plant updates.