Almost 2 million Americans rely on nursing homes for care, and many require daily or near daily contact with the health care system to remain alive and functional. In October 2007, Southern California experienced a series of wildfires that burned over 500 000 acres and caused 14 nursing homes to evacuate more than 1200 residents. In response to this event, nursing home administrators and officials from various health care and emergency management agencies in San Diego County collaborated to form a model for nursing home emergency preparedness. This report describes the model, known as the area coordinator system, and discusses its strengths and limitations, and whether it ought to be replicated in other areas of the country.
(Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2012;6:424-427)