The tragic storms in Oklahoma this week are a sad reminder of the potential for a natural disaster to strike at any time. All assisted living and residential care providers should review their disaster preparedness and response plans, regardless of where your community is located. Your plans should include:
- Communication – How will you communicate with families, staff, and other stakeholders during an emergency? Plan on using all available means of communication, including phone, email, websites, and social media.
- Supplies – Ensure you have sufficient supplies on hand to shelter in place. A minimum of three days is recommended. Food and water are obvious needs, but don’t forget medications and medical supplies that may be needed by residents.
- Evacuations – Are your staff prepared if you must evacuate? Where will your residents go? How will you get them there?
- Staffing – Your staff may be called to address emergencies at home during a natural disaster. Develop plans to provide minimum basic services using a smaller number of staff, modified shifts, cross-training, etc.