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Council passes ordinance to tighten safety protocols at independent living facilities

Published: Oct. 21, 2021 at 5:09 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - New Orleans City Council members called new regulations for senior living facilities “a must” in order to keep people safe.

In the days after Hurricane Ida, the city evacuated hundreds of residents from senior living facilities after finding deplorable conditions inside of them. Council members say the generators at some facilities stopped working. There was no master key and in some cases, there was no management at the site. They say elderly residents were in some cases stranded in buildings as high as nine stories.

Council members say five tenants from different sites in New Orleans lost their lives.

The Council passed an ordinance on Thursday, Oct. 21, that would require these independent living facilities to provide an accurate list of all residents, including phone numbers and emergency contacts. It would also require owners to submit a safety plan and provide updates on the wellbeing of their residents. Management will be required to be on-site and a master key provided. The facilities will also have to meet those requirements to receive an annual license to operate.

“We had some very frustrating situations where we had people who died from the circumstances. Unfortunately, they didn’t make it out,” says Councilman Jay Banks.

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“Because there was no management on site, there was no master key. There was no list of residents who were there and residents that were not there,” says Councilwoman Kristin Palmer.

“It was a very horrible situation, so you see for me, this is more of a moral issue than it is for a legal one,” says Banks.

Council members say the ordinance is not meant to point fingers at any particular facility but to instead, keep everyone safe during an emergency.

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