Understanding the demographics of the young people you serve will help you begin to understand the unique needs of your disaster plan. Adequate disaster planning requires that you stockpile supplies for emergencies that require either an extended period of sheltering in place or an evacuation.
To effectively plan for a disaster, you must develop individualized response plans for those disasters most likely to affect your facility.
All the preparation in the world will not matter if you do not also plan out the specific course of action you will take when a disaster strikes. A few months ago, I wrote about getting a Disaster Preparedness bag or Evacuation Kit together and have finally finished the project.
The Santa Barbara White Fire – any and every fire for that matter, is making me a little (okay, a LOT!) cuckoo. For building staff to clearly understand the proper actions in an emergency the Emergency Response Guide is invaluable.
Emergency Preparedness Brochures and Booklets can be distributed electronically to all tenants and employees. Our standard booklet divides procedures into a Your Role (tenant)-Our Role (building staff) format. The most common is for building management to make content available on a Website and to send tenants a link.
Management sends reminders electronically on a regular basis of the importance of reviewing the emergency procedures.
For over 20 years, Ken Samuelsen has produced key floor plans and riser diagrams for clearly delineating building systems, exit routes, and other pertinent building information.
Safety Planning Group is knowledgable of all the pertinent fire safety code in New York City to ensure fast approval by the FDNY. Filmed on-site, the video can be used for fire drills, preparedness training for building staff, floor wardens, and all tenants. Each of these scenarios requires different considerations.Single facilityBecause you are only planning for one site, issues such as evacuations, supplies, staff management, and communication become less complex than if you were managing several sites at once. My AutoCAD Emergency Evacuation Plan Drafting background includes emergency preparedness plans and diagrams, evacuation plans, fire safety plans, life safety plans and safety equipment layout plans. The transient nature of an emergency shelter population means that you will likely not be able to get your young people involved in disaster planning. The most effective way to combat these destructive elements is to have a clear, comprehensive, well-practiced response plan in place. Here is a sample AutoCAD Emergency Evacuation Plan Drafting project, (1) pages in PDF format.
This has been a hot topic of conversation today, so I thought I’d share this disaster preparedness checklist with you (again). Possible formats for these quick guides might include flash cards, pocket guides, and quick reference lists.
You should have enough seating in facility vehicles to guarantee evacuation for every member of your population.
These quick guides should be included with the orientation materials you hand out.With transitional living youth, who can stay in residence for a year or more, you should conduct disaster training and drills.
The likelihood of small-scale, facility-specific disasters (kitchen fires, basement floods, or power outages, for example) means that each site should have its own unique disaster plan in place.
Each person should have access to a gallon of water a day (2 quarts for drinking, 2 quarts for food preparation and sanitation). For example, if your facility can house 15 youth and, during peak hours, has 3 full-time staff working, you must be prepared to immediately evacuate 18 people—a number that exceeds the capacity of most large vans. Effective disaster planning requires that you consider all three of these evacuation scenarios. By walking you through the process of preparing for disasters before they happen, it will help ensure that you have an effective response ready. For instance, if your facility has room for 10 youth and typically has 2 staff people on site, you should store 36 gallons of water (3 days x 12 people).


On a larger scale, though, you must ensure that your disaster plans address how the different sites will communicate with one another, particularly in events requiring region-wide evacuations or the sharing of limited resources (such as transportation).
For example, during the day, when there are usually multiple staff on duty to respond to an emergency, one person might be tasked with calling 911, another with retrieving emergency supplies, and a third with overseeing the building evacuation.
Ideally, though, these critical documents will be stored in both paper and electronic formats. An evacuation plan must take into account transportation and livable space for young children or infants.
This redundancy can help ensure that key documents survive any disaster scenario, including one in which the facility itself is destroyed, such as a fire or tornado.
That means you must have clear protocols in place for emergency decisionmaking in your absence. While it is probably not necessary to bring along everything during a building evacuation, plan on having youth bring their Go-Bags with them. It also provides space for you to list the people riding in it (including its driver) during an evacuation. It may, in the event of a blizzard or large-scale power outage, simply require that everyone should stay put and wait for the crisis to pass. If, for example, you have a youth with hearing disabilities, your alarms should be equipped with strobe lights.
It may also require aggressive action on the part of facility staff (for example, to put out a fire or resolve a medical emergency). Various templates are also included in the appendices to add to your own disaster preparedness binder.This manual is in no way a final word. In addition, duplicate paper documents as electronic files as soon as possible, both to increase their redundancy (and, therefore, security) and make them more easily transportable in the event of an evacuation.Electronic documentsElectronic documents have many advantages over paper documents, particularly when you consider the space required to store them and the ease involved in duplicating them for backup.
If, for example, your facility houses young mothers and their infant children, you will need to stockpile infant formula.Date stored food and replace it every 6 months.
Be sure to consult with your local or regional government and inquire about existing plans.Now, grab a pencil and let’s get started!
This space is for breaking down, in as much detail as possible, the steps that you, your staff, and youth will take in response to the disaster at hand. While the on-duty support staff take responsibility for moving youth there and handing out critical supplies, the director (or lead staff person) takes responsibility for turning off the gas, closing exterior doors and windows, and shutting off lights.
Once the entire facility population is in the safe room, they use their battery-powered radio to listen for weather updates; when the all-clear is announced, they leave the safe room and check the facility for damage. If the facility is no longer habitable, the local or regional evacuation plan comes into play.Below the procedures area is a space to list the critical supplies and resources that the specific disaster scenario demands.
Work on locating a facility (or two) that will agree to become your local evacuation site should an emergency arise. Since there is a possibility that an evacuation will be necessary in the wake of a tornado, this plan calls for distribution of all the facility’s Go-Bags. The first aid kit, if not already in the safe room, would be brought there as well, in addition to extra flashlights and a battery-powered radio for listening to weather updates as they are broadcast.The area below the supplies and resources section is for listing emergency contact information that applies to the specific disaster scenario. Spell out clearly expectations regarding cost, duration of stay, notification requirements, and so forth.
For example, a response plan for a medical emergency might list the local fire, rescue squad, and police emergency numbers. Carrying extra gas inside your vehicle is dangerous, and a full gas can should not be part of your emergency supplies. Since the only real response to a tornado involves sheltering and riding it out, there is no number listed here.The final area on the form is for detailing the recovery processes that will help return life to normal when the disaster is over. It is critical, however, that you identify these vehicles before an emergency takes place—you do not want to be in a crisis situation with no volunteers to donate their cars! You should also ensure that they are dual-sensor smoke detectors, which combine ionization alarms (which detect flaming, fast-moving fires) and photoelectric alarms (which detect smoldering, smoky fires) into one unit.Every smoke detector in your facility should be tested once a month.
Keep a radio or television in a central area of your facility, and ensure that, during a regional disaster, it remains tuned to a local news station so that your staff can remain abreast of developing situations as they occur.If your facility has a voicemail system, consider creating a special extension on which you can record an emergency message.


Plastic sheeting and duct tape can be used to secure cracks in or around windows, while towels are excellent for stuffing into the space beneath doors. Because local evacuations last for an indeterminate time, you will probably want to bring the bulk of your emergency supplies with you as well. In the event of a large-scale emergency, off-duty staff can call in and receive critical information and instructions (such as when and where to bring vehicles). There is room for common sense here—if, for example, your evacuation site has agreed to provide food for your population, there is little reason to bring your stockpile of food and water. Track this regular maintenance in the log in Appendix B.If your facility has pull-handle fire alarms, make sure youth and staff know where they are located.
This includes stocking vehicles with supplies, ensuring there is communication between vehicles, using vehicle logs (Appendix D), especially for the purpose of tracking occupants, and so forth.Third-party transportationThird-party transportation includes buses, taxis, rental cars, and trains.
Where emergency evacuations are concerned, third-party transportation is the least ideal option, primarily because widespread emergencies that might require regional evacuations will often overwhelm the systems that provide such transportation in the first place. Once the crisis is resolved, you might return to your normal facility or enter local evacuation mode, if your regular facility is unusable.Planning a regional evacuation is essentially the same as planning a local evacuation. No one plan can account for every possible nuance of every disaster—the best you can hope for is that, by taking the time to anticipate your response, you will be prepared to handle any situation when it arises. All evacuation plans should assume that your facility is full to capacity, with a maximum number of youth and staff present.
Work from the contacts you and your staff have to choose a good evacuation area, then visit that area and research sites with which you could form partnerships.When you find an evacuation site, create an evacuation site agreement to put your arrangement in writing (Appendix G). But take a few moments now to walk through the fire response plan above.Obviously, the answer to the big question here is evacuation.
The first step requires the person responding to the fire to pull the fire alarm, which is the facility’s signal for an immediate building evacuation, the plan for which is referenced in the procedures. Water will spread these fires!Class C: Fires involving electrical equipment (wiring, outlets, appliances). This plan, already designed, specifies who is responsible for gathering needed supplies, what the procedures are for getting to the rally point, and so on.Next, the responder must evaluate the situation.
Water can cause electrical shock!There should be at least one easily accessible fire extinguisher in your facility’s kitchen, as well as in any other area where open fires take place. Depending on the extent of the fire, he or she would either attempt to extinguish it using a portable fire extinguisher (step 3) or seal off the affected area to help prevent the fire’s spread to other parts of the facility (step 4). At least once a year, each extinguisher should undergo a more complete maintenance check, which may require you to contract with a fire safety company or the local fire department.
Also place copies of the list with your emergency supplies and inside each facility vehicle. Ideally, every sleeping room will also have its own means of emergency exit—typically, a window fire escape. When one youth leaves your facility, empty his or her Go-Bag and reassign it to the next youth who arrives.Go-Bag for StaffYou only need to have one Go-Bag for your staff.
Each floor plan should show people where they are in the building and give them two possible ways to get outside.
Look for a room that doesn’t have windows and can be closed off from the rest of the facility.
Shutting off the gas in the event of disasters like tornados and fires can prevent explosions. The exterior of your facility should remain lit at night for security.Electrical outages during disaster scenarios are common. While keeping an emergency generator on site is probably an unnecessary expense (and a potential safety risk as well), having a good supply of battery-powered or hand-crank flashlights is a simple and cost-effective way to provide emergency lighting. Revisit this list regularly, and set a specific timetable for completing each item.Check your facility regularly, at least once every season.



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