White County nursing home buckling down for severe weather

White County nursing home buckling down for severe weather
Published: Apr. 13, 2022 at 6:27 PM CDT
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WHITE CO., Ill. (WFIE) - At Carmi Manor Rehabilitation and Nursing, they are no strangers to disaster preparedness.

[Tornado, severe weather threat Wednesday afternoon-evening]

That’s made evident by the tank holding an extra 500 gallons of fuel located right beside their building.

That’s only one of the many on their list of things that they take care of any time they’re anticipating a storm.

They house over 40 residents, with 20 to 30 employees in the building at once. So emergency preparedness is what can help keep everybody calm and collected.

Carmi Manor administrator Dixie McGill says they have plans for everything.

“For power, we have generators that kick on within ten seconds that are tested routinely,” says McGill, “we have 72 hours of food and water for all staff and residents in case we are unable to get supplies.”

In the case of an emergency, it’s all hands on deck for employees.

That includes maintenance man Zack Cotton, who says that he’s ready to pitch in and help get every resident to a safe place.

“Just grab them and drag them to the nurse’s station, or if they’re in a buried bed, which can’t fit through the doorways, we’ll take the handrails off and move them out the doorways and call it good,” says Cotton about what the process is like to get everybody into a safe place.

Both McGill and Cotton say the nurse’s station is a safe place, and it quickly became apparent.

“There’s no windows and no way for anything to get in there,” says Cotton, “and it’s right in the middle of the building.”

McGill calls the nurse’s station “the castle,” and with good reason.

It’s where all of the residents and staff members will wait out any disaster headed their way. It helps that on all four sides of the circular nurse’s station, there are massive fire doors that close completely to the outside.

It’s also the spot that they practice getting residents into.

Their most recent drill? As close as you can get to the real thing.

“Our last one was March 30, it was a good drill because it was an actual tornado,” says McGill.

Two weeks ago, an EF-1 tornado touched down extremely close to the facility, and McGill says that it’s further proof that they’re doing things the right way.

“In case of an emergency, you just can’t let your guard down,” says McGill.

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