Hard-Hit Broward County Cleans Up After Hurricane Irma's Destructive Visit
MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:
To Florida now, which is in cleanup mode after Hurricane Irma. One hard-hit area was Broward County, which includes Fort Lauderdale and Pompano Beach. So let's check in on how folks are doing there. Barbara Sharief is the Broward County mayor. She joins us via Skype. Good morning, Mayor.
BARBARA SHARIEF: Good morning.
KELLY: Hi, glad to have you with us this morning. Let me start, if I may, by asking about that terrible tragedy at the nursing home where eight residents died. That was in Broward County. I know investigations are under way. Are you confident that other nursing or assisted-living facilities are safe in your county?
SHARIEF: Absolutely. You know, every one of those assisted-living facilities and nursing homes are required to have a comprehensive emergency medical plan in place. They are responsible for following it. This particular facility had one in place and didn't follow it. You know, that goes to the facility administrator, the people caring for the patients, making the call of when to evacuate the facility or when to call 911. So, you know, I think it's about having good judgment and - and training in terms of dealing with the elderly and our senior population...
KELLY: And having investigators going out and making sure the rules are being enforced. Has that been done?
SHARIEF: Well, so Broward County proactively visited 282 ALFs and 36 skilled-nursing facilities in our county to make sure that nothing else was going on...
KELLY: This is since Irma?
SHARIEF: ...Once we realized that - yes.
KELLY: They've been out since Irma. OK.
KELLY: Let me turn you to another thing, which is the question of power. How many people still can't turn their lights on?
SHARIEF: Me and about 13,000 others.
KELLY: Oh, no.
KELLY: That must be getting really old.
SHARIEF: Yes. Yes. Living out of a hotel is nothing like home. But, you know, FPL, we had almost 800,000 people without power on Monday, you know, last week after the hurricane, and so we are just under seven days now. Actually, we're at seven days. And we have 13,000 and change without power, including myself now.
KELLY: And what's the time frame on when that may be fixed?
SHARIEF: Well, it was supposed to be last night, and I received a update on my account that it wouldn't be till today at 5 o'clock. And of course it says it's an estimate. So we'll see.
KELLY: You must be waking up every morning and first thing you do is go rush and see if you can turn on the lights on the wall switch.
SHARIEF: (Laughter). I'm driving from the hotel to the house do that, yes.
KELLY: One more quick thing to ask you about, which is, I gather kids are going back to school today? Are the schools all OK and the buses in decent shape to get them there?
SHARIEF: Yes. So we cleared the roads fairly quickly. We cleared all the major highways first and then we cleared all the city roads. So those are cleared rather quickly. The kids are all gone back to school back today. The biggest hurdle we had to get over last week was that the kids had - there was no power to the schools, some of the schools. So we had to wait for the power to be restored in order for the kids to return to school. So they're back. My kids went off to school this morning so everything's great there.
KELLY: Small signs of progress there in Broward County. That's Barbara Sharief, the mayor of Broward County, Florida. Thanks so much for taking the time.
SHARIEF: Absolutely. Thank you for having me. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.