Southampton native working to keep seniors safe in Fort Myers nursing home
(WGGB/WSHM) - A Southampton native, who now lives in Florida, is working to keep a large group of senior citizens protected in the midst of Hurricane Ian.
Western Mass News host of Getting Answers, Dave Madsen, has a son in Fort Myers, Florida.
Originally from Southampton, Greg Madsen moved to Florida 22 years ago. He is the resident director at a senior living facility who is tasked at keeping residents safe.
“That was the big topic, is, ‘What do you think? Do you think we’re all safe?’” Madsen told us. “Of course, we respond with, ‘Of course, we are going to be safe.’”
That facility is located in Fort Myers, Florida, where Hurricane Ian is expected to bring devastation to the area.
Their building is located right on a river, as he showed us in a video. When we talked with him a little before noon on Wednesday, it was calm.
“We are 13 feet above sea level, but they are talking about surges up to 12 to 18 feet,” Madsen said. “So, we are a little worried about that.”
However, when we checked back in with him around 2:30 p.m. Wednesday afternoon, he said it was bad and the facility had just lost its roof.
A video he sent Western Mass News around 4 p.m. showed aggressive winds.
Madsen said that about 230 people were still inside the building, mostly residents with some staff and family members. They had a plan for when the eye of the storm was expected to hit their area.
“We are all gathering into, when the height of the storm is supposed to hit, full category 4 supposed to be hitting the building, we’ll be in the atriums, which is an enclosed center part of the building,” Madsen explained. “No windows or anything like that.”
They have been preparing for a hurricane since June, asking residents who needed help walking, who needed oxygen, and who needed insulin to be kept cold. However, even with all the preparation they have done, Madsen said that the best thing they can do is hope and pray.
“The unknown is what’s scaring us right now,” he told us. “We’ve never experienced anything like this. The closest to anything like this would be Hurricane Andrew in ‘92 and that was absolutely devastating to Homestead. We hope we’re not at another one of those. That’s our prayer.”
Madsen said that he is also tasked with keeping the family members of the residents informed about what is going on, but he said that is getting harder and harder as the day goes on.
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