Powered for Patients Project Director Eric Cote is serving as a consultant to a CDC-funded project being led by the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials and implemented by the Louisiana Department of Health’s Bureau of Community Preparedness to support Louisianans using life support equipment in their homes during power outages. The innovative initiative is called “Neighbors Helping Neighbors” and it seeks to recruit owners of standby residential generators to volunteer to recharge the batteries of ventilators and other life support equipment used by Louisianans in their homes during power outages.
By providing a nearby source of backup power to recharge batteries for users of life support equipment, the program will enable these individuals to safely remain in their homes longer during power outages or return sooner from shelters. The added time these individuals can safely remain in their home during a power outage could become a life saver if road closures or other obstacles prevent them from evacuating to a shelter or other locations with a source of backup power. During the crippling winter storm in early 2021 that shut down large parts of the Texas electrical grid, killing 55 people, areas in Northern Louisiana were also without power. Severe icing on roads caused by the storm prevented first responders from traveling to help evacuate users of life-support equipment
Cote developed the concept for this initiative years ago and a recent CDC-funding opportunity managed by ASTHO presented the ideal opportunity for Cote to partner with the Louisiana Department of Health to propose the initiative. The Bureau of Community Preparedness and Powered for Patients will work closely with a number of disability advocacy organizations and other stakeholders on the project, including:
- The Louisiana Office for Citizens with Developmental Disabilities
- The Louisiana Emergency Management and Disability Aging Coalition
- The Ventilator Assisted Care Program, based out of Children’s Hospital in New Orleans
- Trach Mommas of Louisiana, a non-profit that works to provide support to families of children who require tracheostomy equipment
- Special Needs and Parent Support Services of Louisiana (private service provider led by a mother of a child with disabilities)
- Louisiana’s federally funded Healthcare Coalitions
- Home healthcare providers
- Durable Medical Equipment providers
- Local Building Code Officials – These officials will help project personnel identify residential owners of standby emergency power systems.
- Generator dealers
- Electric utilities
Individuals interested in learning more about the program can contact Eric Cote at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling 401-374-8500.