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A plan in place to help seniors during disasters

SIMSBURY -- After Hurricane Irma and with the nursing home tragedy in Hollywood, Florida fresh in their minds, healthcare leaders and emergency responders have spent the week working on the "Connecticut Long Term Care Mutual Aid Plan."

The plan has been in existence since 2012 and is geared to create continuity so nursing homes and assisted living facilities can safely evacuate residents should a natural disaster hit.

This week, a number of nursing homes are taking part in the drills in Connecticut, including the Mclean Health Center in Simsbury.

Lisa Clark, vice president at Mclean Health said, "the biggest thing is it (the drills) provide so much comfort and reassurance that our staff has the right system in place and our residents are well cared for."

Darren Osleger, a fire and emergency management consultant from Plainville based Russell Phillips and Associates who helps to orchestrate the evacuation exercises said, "we do it because we're protecting people who can't protect themselves."

Osleger said full scale drills are done annually at a number of nursing homes across the state but smaller scale exercises occur every few months.

"Each year we build off what we've done in previous years so it can be successful through and through," he said.