Knowing there are individuals with disabilities or limitations living in your facility, it is imperative that life safety protocols are in place. It is crucial that staff and residents are properly trained on processes and procedures emergency planning. The better trained they are, the more effective they will be in an emergency.
Emergency preparedness begins with the disasters that are likely to occur in your geographic location (e.g., wildfires, flooding, tornadoes, etc.). When considering your preparedness in case of emergency, consider the following:
- What disaster could happen?
- What result could that have on your building, residents, and staff?
- What emergency procedures and supplies do you need?
- How will you contact emergency personnel, families, and licensing, and others?
- How will you transport residents?
- How do you transport medications? Oxygen? Other equipment?
- How can you keep adequate supplies of food and water?
Each facility must have a written plan for responding to emergencies and disasters, including fires. The plan must detail the responsibilities of the employees and be readily available to those employees. The facility must provide information on the plan to all employees in advance of performing any job duties. Further, the procedures for responding to fire, tornado, flooding or any other emergency or disaster must be clearly communicated to a new resident within 72 hours of admission. That communication must be documented in the resident’s record. It is good practice to walk the new resident through emergency procedures.
The plan must detail the responsibilities of the caregivers and be readily available to you! You should notice that each emergency and disaster plan must have the following:
- Procedures for the orderly evacuation of the residents during an emergency or disaster
- Procedures to follow when any resident refuses to follow evacuation or emergency procedures
- The facility’s response to serious illness or accidents
- Procedures to follow when a resident is missing
- The facility’s response to severe weather including tornado and flooding
- The location of emergency shelter and a means of transportation to the shelter
- Procedures on how meals and medications will be provided in the event of a disaster
Communicate, communicate, communicate! It is crucial that training and disaster preparedness efforts are coordinated between agencies and caregivers. Sharing information makes it easier to duplicate what works and eliminate what doesn’t. This also keeps everyone on the “same page” so to speak.
Take some time to review your facility’s Emergency policies and procedures. If you are unsure of where to locate them, contact your supervisor.