This week’s “Ftag of the Week” on the CMSCG Blog is F922 Procedures to Ensure Water Availability, which is part of the Physical Environment regulatory group. September is National Preparedness Month, and with hurricane season underway and the opportunity for other severe inclement weather events to occur, this is an important requirement for providers to have a plan in place for.
The regulation at F922 states that facilities must have procedures in place to ensure that water is available to essential areas when a loss of normal water supply occurs. During the Entrance Conference of a certification/recertification survey, the surveyor will ask the administrator about what the facility’s procedure is to ensure water availability.
The written procedure, per the Interpretive Guidance (IG), should define what the source of water will be when the normal water supply is lost. It should also include provisions for water storage (potable and non-potable), how water will be distributed and what is the method for calculating the volume of needed water. However, it is not only the method that needs to be documented – providers also need to think about what they have planned for potable water per individual resident use and what they have in storage for emergency use – you may not be able to get that needed emergency delivery of additional water. Facilities have been cited under F922 after surveyors used the calculation documented in each facility’s procedure to determine if there was enough water on hand at the facility for the current census, and the amount stored was found to be insufficient.
Water availability is also something that should be considered for inclusion in the Facility Assessment and obviously in the Emergency Preparedness Plan. Facilities need to consider the size of the emergency water supply that they should have in place to meet the physical care needs of residents, dietary use to prepare meals, as well as for available drinking water for residents, staff and others (those unexpected guests seeking shelter) who may be in the building during an emergency. If there was truly an emergency in your facility today, would you have enough water to meet all of your needs? You may want to check. Could you last for 3 days?