Evacuated Good Samaritan Society residents return home

Now that hurricane danger has passed, two Florida sites return to normal

A Good Samaritan Society resident gets loaded into an ambulance.
A Good Samaritan Society resident gets loaded into an ambulance.

In what now is the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian in Florida, Good Samaritan Society residents have safely returned to their homes in Daytona and Kissimmee, Florida.

Good Samaritan Society president Randy Bury reported the news:

“Everyone in our charge is safely home,” Bury’s email read Thursday, updating an effort that began more than a week ago.

It had been a concentrated and sustained reaction to Hurricane Dorian distinguished by a well-organized and quickly executed plan, Bury wrote. He was grateful he was able to pass along a positive outcome.

“I want to again recognize both our ground teams in Florida who moved smartly and swiftly through this entire process and the team in Sioux Falls who put in many hours providing support,” Bury’s email continued. “It took a village, and everyone involved really stepped up.”

Beginning late last week, Good Samaritan Society-Kissimmee Village and Good Samaritan Society-Daytona began an effort to move more than 200 residents to the safety of DeLand, Fla., at another Good Samaritan Society location about 20 miles west of Daytona and 60 miles south of Kissimmee.

Incident Command Centers staffed by Good Samaritan Society and Sanford Health personnel were set up in Orlando and at Sioux Falls’ Good Samaritan Society National Campus in anticipation of the hurricane’s collision with dry land. By Tuesday,  Good Samaritan Society Vice President of Operations Nate Schema could report the successful transport of all 237 relocated residents.

Coordinated effort

“I think it’s amazing what they’ve done,” Bury said Tuesday. “The work of Nate Schema and (Sanford Health Director of Public Safety) Greg Santa Maria, and the host of Florida leaders, is amazing. Within 48 hours, they evacuated more than 200 skilled nursing residents at two different facilities covering hundreds of miles.”

The slow-moving hurricane subjected the Bahamas to Category 5 conditions with flooding and 140 mile-an-hour winds. It was reclassified as Category 2 early this week as it neared Florida’s east coast. It didn’t ultimately cause any damage to Good Samaritan Society locations in Kissimmee or Daytona.

Good Samaritan Society locations in Florida have experienced the threat of hurricanes in the past. Two years ago, Hurricane Irma also hit Category 5 status and warranted evacuations in the state.

“I think we picked up on those plans and the lessons learned from that incident and then added some Sanford resources and expertise to it,” Bury said. “It made this a real proactive approach. That’s the primary reason this has gone this well. We got the right resources, the right expertise, and we’re working real hard to stay ahead of the storm.”

Sanford Health and Good Samaritan Society officials provided additional personnel to Florida locations to aid the return of Kissimmee and Daytona residents.

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