Are you prepared for the 2019 Hurricane Season?

July 16, 2019

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We’re back in the heart of Florida’s hurricane season, are you ready?

During emergencies and every day, 1199SEIU members play a critical role in the care and well-being of so many hospital and nursing home patients across that state.

But to provide this important service, members first have to keep themselves and their families safe if a storm threatens.

Ensure Hurricane Preparedness at Your Hospital or Nursing Home

Be familiar with crisis procedures at your work facility.  Don’t wait for a storm to learn how to evacuate or what to do in case of power outages, flooding, wind damage or other issues.

Know your contract.  Be clear about staffing requirements in case of emergency and any specific provisions that were negotiated by your 1199SEIU bargaining team.

• Does the facility have a hurricane plan in place?

• Will shifts or duties change when a storm hits?

• Are there issues with sleeping accommodations for staff?

• Have staff been mandated to work?

Are there special allowances if you can’t make it into your facility?

Some employers might try to take the position that they won’t pay for resting/sleeping time while on duty during a hurricane. This is generally incorrect. Under Federal wage and hour law, employees must be paid for all mandated time, even when they need to rest or sleep on duty during a hurricane, and there is only a narrow exception:

The employer provides adequate sleeping quarters
The employee has at least 5 hours of uninterrupted sleep and
The employee agrees

If you believe this is an issue at your facility talk to an 1199SEIU delegate or organizer immediately on how to best raise this issue with management. You can also find additional information about the laws governing hurricane pay on the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association Website, an employer trade group.

All of these questions should be answered now, not when the winds and tensions are already swirling.

Ready Your Home for a Potential Hurricane

You need to be prepared at home too.  You and your family need to be safe to be able to keep your patients healthy and safe. Below are some basic tips from the American Red Cross to prepare and protect your loved ones:

•          Assemble an emergency preparedness kit.

•          Create a household evacuation plan that includes your pets./p>

•          informed about your community’s risk and response plans.

•          Educate your family on how to use the Safe and Well website.

•          Download the Emergency App for iPhone >> or for Android >>

Additional Florida resources for the 2019 hurricane season:

EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT OFFICES

•          Miami-Dade County: 305-468-5400

•          Broward County: 954-831-3900

•          Monroe County: 305-289-6018

•          Palm Beach County: 561-712-6400

•          Osceola County: 407-742-9000

•          Hillsborough County: 813-236-3800

•          Pinellas County: 727-847-8137

For members outside of these areas, look up and contact your local emergency management office for more information or call the State Assistance Information Line (SAIL) at 1-800-342-3557 during the time of an emergency.

EVACUATION ASSISTANCE

People requiring special needs shelter must register in advance.

•          Miami-Dade County: 305-513-7700; TDD 305-468-5402

         Broward County: 954-537-2888

•          Monroe County:

•          Palm Beach County: 561-712-6400

•          Osceola County: 407-343-2154

•          Hillsborough County: 813-272-6900

•          727-453-3150

UTILITIES

•          Florida Power & Light: 800-4OUTAGE (800-468-8243)

•          Bellsouth Repair: 611; Customer Service prior to a storm: 888-757-6500

•          TECO Peoples Gas: Miami-Dade and Broward: 877-832-6747

•          TECO Tampa Electric: Hillsborough 877-832-6747 / 813-223-0800

• Florida City Gas: Miami-Dade: 305-691-8710; Elsewhere: 800-993-7546

•          Progress Energy: Pinellas County: 800-700-8744

•          Kissimmee Utility Authority:  407-933-9800

Members can contact their organizer with any additional questions regarding hurricane preparation and response. To be put in touch with your organizer, call 305-623-3000.