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Within months after the terrorist attacks of September 11th FEMA coordinated its activities with the newly formed Office of Homeland Security. It was discovered after Katrina that five of eight top FEMA officials came to their posts with virtually no experience in handling disasters and were leading an agency whose ranks of seasoned crisis managers have thinned dramatically since the Sept.
Lets step back a moment – what is our goal going forward in emergency management and business continuity?
Organize safety fairs that bring together community responders, not-for-profits and vendors who can provide information, resources, sell family kits and promote preparedness. Encourage employees to take Community Emergency Response Training (CERT) in their neighborhoods – consider sponsoring the training at your company.
Develop an emergency preparedness web page on your company’s intranet site with links to community resources and pertinent information regarding the threats in your area.
Your neighbors: Airports, freeways, train tracks, nuclear power plants, manufacturing, etc.
Preparedness consists of a wide range of measures, both long- and short-term, designed to save lives and limit the amount of damage that might otherwise be caused by the event. The emergency period is dramatic and often traumatic; therefore most attention by the press and international community is focused here. Probability - Likelihood that the particular hazard will result in damage at this location. Do you have a badge system?  Do you require employees to wear badges at all times?  Do they have employee photos on them? How many stairwells?  Are they fire rated and enclosed?  Do you know the fire rating?
If you go to the street - do you have designated evacuation areas?  Are they marked with any signage? If so what is the Security phone number and hours?  What are their overall responsibilities?
Do you have floor wardens or emergency response teams?  Do they assist in building evacuation? Do you have a pre-designated command center or post for managing an event at your location? Please visit two web sites for more detailed information regarding Regina Phelps and Emergency Management & Safety Solutions. Regardless of your region’s propensity for disaster—be it tornadoes, earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, wildfires or severe storms—the steps for preparedness and recovery largely remain the same. To facilitate this continuous process, we’ve created the infographic below, Ready to Respond: A Disaster Recovery Guide for Multifamily Communities, from guidelines established by the American Red Cross and FEMA to serve as a handy reminder of steps you can take to help your apartment community before, during and after a disaster. Share with us in the comments below what steps you’re taking to inform and involve your community about disaster recovery.

Click here for a high resolution PDF of the Disaster Recovery Guide for Multifamily Communities Infographic.
If you like what you read, please consider subscribing to our weekly newsletter and receive a summary of the week on Property Management Insider every Saturday. 4 Tips for Leveraging Property Maintenance to Improve Resident RetentionMaintenance teams play a critical, yet often overlooked role in the lease renewal process.
Contingency planning aims to prepare an organization to respond well to an emergency and its potential humanitarian impact. The contingency planning process can basically be broken down into three simple questions:• What is going to happen?• What are we going to do about it?• What can we do ahead of time to get prepared?
Our new Contingency planning guide (see right) breaks contingency planning down into five main steps, shown in the diagram below. This Contingency planning guide is the second version produced by the IFRC, and builds on our experience around the world.
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is the world's largest humanitarian organization, with 190 member National Societies.
As an emergency management professional with 23 years of experience I have been personally troubled by what I have observed over the past five years as the profession morphed into something quite different – what I would call a new reality. Implemented by FEMA in 1997, Project Impact joined states and territories in a partnership with FEMA to help communities change the way they approach and deal with natural disasters. Hazard mitigation is defined as any sustained action taken to reduce or eliminate long-term risk to life and property from a hazard event. Preparedness is concerned with long-term policies and programs to minimize the impact of disasters.
Yet in most disasters (with the exception of droughts, famines, and civil strife), the emergency passes relatively quickly, and in reality, only accounts for a very small percentage of the disaster continuum. The first begins at the end of the response phase and is a transitional phase (sometimes called the rehabilitation phase) when people and community systems try to re-establish a semblance of normalcy. Should the emphasis be shifted from homeland security and terrorism to the “all-hazards” approach of the past?
Phelps’s niche includes crisis management team development, emergency operations center design and the development of emergency exercises.
According to the American Red Cross, forty-five states and territories of the United States are at moderate to very high risk for earthquakes. She is also the Digital Content Manager for RealPage, Inc., a provider of on-demand software solutions that integrate and streamline single-family and multifamily rental property management functions. Developing a contingency plan involves making decisions in advance about the management of human and financial resources, coordination and communications procedures, and being aware of a range of technical and logistical responses. Contingency planning is most often undertaken when there is a specific threat or hazard; exactly how that threat will actually impact is unknown.

They must also be linked to the plans, systems or processes of other government, partner or Movement bodies at all levels – national, regional and global. As part of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, our work is guided by seven fundamental principles; humanity, impartiality, neutrality, independence, voluntary service, unity and universality. Hazard mitigation results in long-term, cost-effective and environmentally sound reduction of hazard vulnerability. This period is usually characterized by such activities as businesses reopening in damaged structures, farmers returning to reclaim and clear their land, people returning to their homes and resumption of basic infrastructure such as water and sanitation systems in urban areas. She is responsible for managing the scope of web content production for the RealPage family of products and provides research, analysis, editorial content strategy and production. Such planning is a management tool, involving all sectors, which can help ensure timely and effective provision of humanitarian aid to those most in need when a disaster occurs. There is a suggested format for contingency plans annexed to the guide and also a collection of training modules available from the IFRC. Most important of all, this is a guide for practitioners, volunteers and staff working with National Societies around the world, who wish to benefit from the collective experience of their colleagues.
He initiated sweeping reforms that streamlined disaster relief and recovery operations, insisted on a new emphasis regarding preparedness and mitigation, and focused agency employees on customer service. Altshuler -- arrived with ties to President Bush's 2000 campaign or to the White House advance operation, according to FEMA. The reconstruction phase is marked by large-scale efforts to replace damaged buildings, revitalize economies or restore agricultural systems to their full predisaster production capacity. The National Apartment Association reported that when the EF5 tornado (receiving the highest strength rating on the damage scale) rampaged through Joplin, Missouri on May 22, 2011, it destroyed 8,400 residences, 18,000 cars and 450 businesses. Contingency planning and preparedness should be considered a core organizational activity for every National Society. The collapse of the Soviet Union also allowed Witt to redirect more of FEMA's limited resources from civil defense into disaster relief, recovery and mitigation programs. Effective contingency planning should lead to timely and effective disaster-relief operations.
The revised guide will support disaster management practitioners in developing contingency plans which are simple, participatory, realistic and supported by preparedness actions that are identified as a result of the contingency planning. For a 138-unit apartment community that survived the event, rehabilitation costs rose to $74,000 per unit.
He also served as the National Campaign Manager for Bush-Cheney 2000 with responsibility and oversight for all activities related to the Bush election campaign.

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