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Did going off-line during heat wave jeopardize Cedarbrook residents?

By Bo Koltnow, Reporter, BKoltnow@wfmz.com
Published On: Jul 19 2013 05:34:07 PM CDT
Updated On: Jul 19 2013 06:13:01 PM CDT

Clients say patients put in jeopardy

ALLENTOWN, Pa. -

Some businesses are going offline during the heat wave to help take pressure off the power grid, but that move has landed one Allentown nursing home in hot water with some of its clients.

The Cedarbrook nursing home in Allentown is part of a demand response, meaning when the temperatures soar it can go offline to help ease demand, but some clients said when doing so Thursday, the nursing home put patients in jeopardy.

"My mother's fan was running. When power shut off, everything went down, the lights in her room, oxygen," said one woman.

The nursing home initiated a demand response as part of a county program in which buildings go offline to help ease tension on the power grid.

"No," said Jamie Aurand, the building's director, when asked if he thought residents' health was put in jeopardy. "If we thought that we would have brought the power back up in the building."

Aurand said state regulations mandate rooms can go no higher than 81 degrees, but Debbie Missmerperkin, who was visiting her 85-year-old grandmother, doesn't buy it.

"God strike me dead if it's hotter out here than in there yesterday," she said.

The nursing home admitted room fans and the air conditioning weren't running for about three hours.

"I don't believe any resident suffered any direct ill effects as a result of the event yesterday," Aurand said.

Ten-year resident Kerry Brezen, however, said he's seen first hand the pain on some residents faces.

"See their face glisten, start to pant a little bit. Rapid shallow breaths," he described.

"Oh most assuredly," Brezen said, when asked if people's health was jeopardy.

The county said it will review next week how the procedure went.