Target: New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg
Goal: Insist that the evacuation policies of New York are changed to protect elderly and disabled individuals during emergencies
As Hurricane Sandy moved closer to shore, many New Yorkers prepared to evacuate. Nursing and adult homes in mandatory evacuation areas were no exception. They had readied their patients for evacuation and were all prepared for a smooth transition. Yet four days before the storm hit, nursing and adult homes were told not to evacuate. Despite their preparations, the mayor and New York health officials decided it was unnecessary to move the disabled and elderly patients who lived in these facilities. Despite the trepidations of the nursing staff and the fear expressed by the patients, they stayed put.
When the hurricane hit, more than forty nursing homes in flood prone areas still housed vulnerable patients. At least 29 of the nursing homes in Queens and Brooklyn experienced severe flooding. The facilities experienced total power failures. There was no heat or light to combat the cold wetness of the flooding. Many facilities didn’t have adequate water or food supply as their supplies were inaccessible due to flooding.
It took three days for first responders to rescue the 4,000 residents of nursing homes and 1,500 residents of adult homes who were trapped. Many of the first responders were shocked to find that these facilities had not been evacuated. Despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary, the mayor still stands by his decision not to evacuate. It was believed the facilities could withstand the flooding, despite the clear evidence that it was not the case. Their backup generators were not rated for such extreme weather, and many facilities didn’t even have backup generators.
Sign the petition below to demand that the mayor and health officials apologize to the many people who suffered because of their bad judgment. Furthermore, ask that the evacuation policies be changed to avoid these mistakes in the future.
Dear Mayor Michael Bloomberg,
Your decision not to evacuate the residents of nursing and adult homes showed a lack of foresight and judgment. It was clear that many of the nursing homes would not be able to withstand the extreme weather conditions caused by the hurricane. The homes in mandatory evacuation areas should have been told to evacuate with everyone else.
Elderly and disabled individuals are especially at risk during emergencies. It is very possible that the deaths after the hurricane were due to the freezing wet conditions they were subjected to, as wells as their lack of access to food and water. These mortalities could have been prevented.
I urge you to recognize that a mistake was made, and to issue an apology to those who suffered because of it. More importantly, please revise your evacuation policies to ensure that seniors and disabled individuals will be protected during emergencies.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: nyaltnews.com