Before the Disaster
Preparations before the disaster involve activities far in advance of any threat. Disaster response activities will be outlined in accordance with the immediacy of the threat. Preparatory activities are subdivided into:
- Pre-watch (as the storm develops) activities;
- Hurricane watch activities;
- Hurricane warning activities.
Pre Watch Activities
- Monitor storm’s activity through media coverage and keep abreast of any developments as they occur.
- Gather supplies: water, food, safety and emergency medical items. Store these supplies separately from others to prevent using. Check shelf dates throughout and replace any outdated items.
- Inform residents of the significance of monitoring the path and development of tropical storms, giving us sufficient time to prepare adequately, review and/or revise plans, and time to notify all concerned individuals.
- Prepare to protect the business functions by copying the following documents in advance and storing them in a watertight and fire proof container to be kept in the business office:
- Articles of incorporation;
- Property deeds and title;
- Home insurance policies;
- Personnel records;
- Tax records (previous years);
- Current photographs of homes, vehicles, etc.
- Copies of all contracts.
- Review evacuation plans and relocation sites. Several of the facilities/residences are in designated evacuation zones. In the event of a Hurricane or severe weather conditions affected residents and staff will need to evacuate.
Storm Watch Activities
Storm watch activities follow notification through the media that a storm may be headed in our general direction and we may be affected by it. This is the period of alert when most people begin preparations and secure supplies. Since the Recovery Residence has implemented pre-watch preparations, watch activities involve only ensuring that the residents are all aware of the current status of the storm.
These supplies should be kept stocked throughout the year but should be rechecked and replenished as soon as hurricane season is announced. Maintain supplies sufficient for two (2) weeks for each resident and staff in accordance with the attached list of “supplies to be taken to evacuation site”.
- Check Hurricane supplies;
- Check designed facilities to make sure there is a working generator to maintain minimal food storage areas as well as general supplies for the generator;
- Check water and food supplies, flashlights and extra battery supply.
- Check first aid kits, supply of over-the-counter medications, and supply of resident medications (where appropriate).
Make sure the following supplies are on hand as they have been found necessary to protect the agency’s/residences business functions following a disaster:
- Roll(s) of plastic sheeting and roof nails;
- Furniture dolly;
- Permanent markers;
- Plastic bags;
- Tape (masking, duct, electrical, etc.);
- Cleaning equipment and supplies for outside and inside;
- Shovels, rakes, carpet knives, scissors, brooms, mops, buckets, bleach, etc;
- Fully equipped toolbox.
Check that the following items are available to be taken to the evacuation site or other designated safe premises prior to the disaster:
- Emergency plan;
- Agency communication list;
- Emergency resource list.
Planning for Residents Needs
The personal needs of staff members in the event of an emergency will be taken into consideration when finalizing the schedule for the duration of the emergency period.
Upon first notice of an impending emergency the Director will hold general staff meetings and allow team input into the development of the staff schedule for the period forty-eight (48) hours prior, and forty-eight (48) hours after, the emergency. This staff meeting will also be used to designate responsibility among supervisory and direct care staff to account for:
- Resident activity coordination;
- Flood preparation and coordination.
Additionally, the staff meeting will serve to establish emergency contacts during and after the emergency period and for confirming the evacuation location and specific evacuation activities.
Essential staff that can only work by bringing family members with them to the evacuation site may be allowed to do so. Provision for them will be included with the rest of the resident group.
Warning Stage Activities
Once the hurricane-warning period is announced, we can expect that the hurricane will make landfall within forty-eight (48) hours. The media will begin announcing the numbers to call to secure emergency shelter and for other information.
During the Hurricane Warning Phase:
- Prepare the physical plan;
- Follow through with administrative preparatory plan;
- Implement evacuation plan – (recommended items to be taken to a shelter are work gloves, leisure items, books, magazines, games, arts and crafts, sports equipment, hand held video games, tapes and radio and extra batteries.)
During the Emergency
Once staff and residents arrive to the evacuation site, staff responsibilities will consist of assisting residents to settle in and become comfortable, unloading and organizing supplies (designate areas for medication safe keeping and dispensation, inter-staff communication (where portable phone is to be kept), an area for water and food supplies, an area for house wares and housekeeping supplies, and an area for laundry and disposables, i.e., garbage). Engage residents in as many activities as possible. Staff in charge will ensure that everyone stays indoors, and away from windows.
After the Emergency
Stay tuned to radio or TV stations until you hear the official “all clear”. Before going outside make sure you have on sturdy shoes to help avoid cuts from debris, fall etc. Stay away from downed power lines. Do not use tap water. Assume a “Boil water order” is in effect until you are informed otherwise. Drive only where necessary. Maintain residents at evacuation site until it is determined that facility/home is safe to move back into. Each facility should not only be structurally sound, but also have electricity and running water. If unable to move back, stay at the evacuation site and await instructions. If at a Red Cross Shelter, utilize previously identified relocation options, i.e. hotels or motels, family member homes, etc.
- Set in motion plan for continued services. Identify resources to be utilized while at evacuation site, particularly medical and pharmacy services. Review status of resident needs assessment:
- Review status of emergency plan.
- Review personnel status and personnel needs.
- Review staff schedule and implement revisions.
- Revise plans based on assessment of each of the above areas.
- Communicate with:
- Family members, guardians, and advocates;
- Client’s case managers;
- Independent support coordinators;
- Community agencies;
- Volunteer groups;
- During a Power Outage
In the event of the failure of a power outage following actions will be taken immediately.
The safety officer will be notified immediately for assistant.
The Safety Officer Head or designee will make very effort to determine the cause of the power outage.
Florida Power and Light will also be notified to determine the estimated length of the power outage. Florida Power and Light 954-581-5668.
At that point the Safety Officer and the CEO with determine if the agency/residence is a safe environment for clients.
- During a Flood
In the event of the failure of the sewer and/or plumbing system, the following actions should be taken:
- Staff will immediately contact the Safety Officer Head for assistance
- The Safety Officer Head or designee will make very effort to determine the cause of the sewer or plumbing failure and reactivate the system.
- In the event that repairs cannot be made in-house or will require extensive down time of the system the following action should be taken:
- The Safety Officer Head will advise the staff of problems found and anticipated downtime.
- The Safety Officer Head or designee will contact the building owner/manager who will contact the service provider (if services are required) normally engaged by the owner to assist in carrying out the emergency repair.
- If it has been determined that it is a city system failure contact the local and/or municipal department.
- Should the problem continue for an extended period of time, portable facilities should be obtained to accommodate clients, visitors, and employees.
Palm Beach County Hurricane Shelter List:
Suggested items are marked with an asterisk (*)
- Store water in plastic containers such as soft drink bottles. Avoid using containers that will decompose or break, such as milk cartons or glass bottles. A normally active person needs to drink at least two quarts of water each day. Hot environments and intense physical activity can double that amount. Children, nursing mothers, and ill people will need more.
- Store one gallon of water per person per day.
- Keep at least a three-day supply of water per person (two quarts for drinking, two quarts for each person in your household for food preparation/sanitation).
- Store at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food. Select foods that require no refrigeration, preparation or cooking, and little or no water. If you must heat food, pack a can of sterno. Select food items that are compact and lightweight. Include a selection of the following foods in your Disaster Preparedness Kit: Ready-to-eat canned meats, fruits, and vegetables, canned juices, staples (salt, sugar, pepper, spices, etc.) and high energy foods.
Tools & Supplies
- Mess kits, or paper cups, plates, and plastic utensils
- Emergency preparedness manual
- Battery-operated radio and extra batteries*
- Flashlight and extra batteries*
- Cash or traveler’s checks, change*
- Non-electric can opener, utility knife*
- Fire extinguisher: small canister ABC type
- Tube tent
- Matches in a waterproof container
- Aluminum foil
- Plastic storage containers
- Signal flare
- Paper, pencil
- Needles, thread
- Medicine dropper
- Shut-off wrench, to turn off household gas and water
- Plastic sheeting
- Map of the area (for locating shelters)
- Toilet paper, towelettes*
- Soap, liquid detergent*
- Feminine supplies*
- Personal hygiene items*
- Plastic garbage bags, ties (for personal sanitation uses)
- Plastic bucket with tight lid
- Household chlorine bleach
Clothing & Bedding
- Include at least one complete change of clothing and footwear per person*
- Sturdy shoes or work boots*
- Rain gear*
- Blankets or sleeping bags*
- Heart and high blood pressure medication
- Prescription drugs
- Denture needs
- Contact lenses and supplies
- Extra eye glasses
Possessions & Documents
- Keep these records in a waterproof, portable container:
- Will, insurance policies, contracts, deeds, stocks and bonds
- Passports, social security cards, immunization records
- Bank account numbers
- Credit card account numbers and companies
- Inventory of valuable household goods, important telephone numbers
- Family records (birth, marriage, death certificates)
- Store your kit in a convenient place known to all family members. Keep a smaller version of the supplies kit in the trunk of your car.
- Keep items in airtight plastic bags. Change your stored water supply every six months so it stays fresh. Replace your stored food every six months. Re-think your kit and family needs at least once a year. Replace batteries, update clothes, etc.
- Ask your physician or pharmacist about storing prescription medications.