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Grace Place prepares for power outages

When the power goes out at Grace Place, its staff has a plan of action.

Because of the stormy weather in the past month, the senior living facility at 380 N.W. Sixth Ave. has experienced three power outages — the most common emergency, according to technician Doug Boles.

With residents having varying levels of physical needs, the staff at Grace Place feel it’s important to have an emergency plan to help keep residents safe.

“The most frequent scenario is that there’s no energy and the lights go out,” Boles said. “But we have backup lights in each hallway, that we test regularly so that no hallway is completely without light.”

Boles estimates that the battery-powered backup lights can last up to four hours. Staff also keep emergency flashlights for additional lighting, and there is a charged power station for power-operated wheelchairs.

During outages, staff check on residents frequently.

Grace Place holds fire drills and monthly safety meetings to discuss preparedness for a variety of emergency situations, including power outages and fires. Boles believes fire drills are useful preparation for all emergencies.

“The most important thing you can do is learn the fire safety, and know what to do there,” he said. “If you know that preparation, it covers a lot of areas like evacuation or getting the residents to safety.”

Their goal is to have one of the drills during each shift, since events could happen during any time of the day or night.

Boles emphasizes the importance of preparedness.

“It’s the biggest thing you can do,” he said. “People think ‘It will never happen to me,’ so they’re often not prepared when something does happen. I want everyone here to become a natural, so when something does happen, they just naturally know what to do next.”