As of this writing, rescue workers continue to pull bodies from the rubble of a collapsed condo in Florida, more than a week and a half after it first fell. Even as scores of families mourn for loved ones, authorities continue to seek the cause of the collapse, and to ensure that similar potential disasters are caught early.
As hard as it may be to process, now is the best time to start wondering how to protect yourself and your senior loved ones from a similar tragedy. They may not have the capacity to ask these questions themselves, and it falls on you to ask them on their behalf.
- Contact the management or ownership of any residential complex they reside in and ask for a copy of the most recent inspection report. Laws vary by state, so some are obliged to give such info to residents, and others do not.
- If the inspection is out of date (more than 15-20 years old, generally) start inquiring when the next inspection will be performed.
- If they cannot or will not provide such a report, start banding together with other residents to ask as a group. In some cases you may have to hire a lawyer to spearhead the request, but it would likely be money well spent if it provides some peace of mind or even uncovers a problem.
- Contact local elected officials and see if they can help get the report, or facilitate an expedited inspection for the residences.
- Start making an evacuation plan NOW. Make sure they have a go-bag ready with clothing, toiletries, meds and other basic necessities. Gather up irreplaceable mementoes and documents so they can be taken in the event that evacuation is needed (this is also good advice for natural disaster season in your area, be they hurricanes, wildfires or floods).
Your first instinct has to be to get information first, safety next. Blame can be assigned later if there is an issue, but in the near term
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