The chief of one Nebraska nursing home is applauding the actions of his staff and community after the facility was forced to evacuate last month in the face of historic flooding.

Things first got serious for the Premier Estates of Pierce, NE, March 12, when Administrator Christian Koenig received word from city officials about impending heavy rains. That initiated the nursing home’s three-step emergency plan, which included notifying staffers at home that the facility may need extra help, and gathering necessary documents and supplies to maintain care, the Norfolk Daily News reported Monday.

As heavy rains started to fall the next day, workers leapt into action to start the process of moving residents. Pierce Manor was not alone, with historic flooding forcing at least 12 long-term care facilities to evacuate in northeast Nebraska.

They had looked to move residents to a nursing home about 15 miles northeast, in Norfolk, NE, which was in the process of closing. But with the highway impassable, they instead sent residents to a nearby public auditorium in Pierce. Residents were instructed to place clothing and other necessities into pillow cases, mattresses were moved to the auditorium, and staffers protected left-behind belongings by placing them higher up from the ground.

Koenig said he was proud of how everyone came together to put the plan in play.

“I will put the staff here up against the staff of any nursing home in Northeast Nebraska, and I will take them every day of the week and twice on Sunday,” he said.

The facility was still dry by the time everyone got out, but floodwaters eventually rose about 16 inches at the highest point in the building. Laborers haven been working to get the SNF back into shape and Koenig said he hoped residents could be back in June. They were eventually transported from the auditorium to the closing Norfolk home after waters had receded.