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To effectively prepare for emergencies, senior living communities need to prepare in advance of unforeseen events, harnessing operational resources, ensuring there are enough critical supplies, staffing and facilities, according to Risk Mitigation in Senior Living: Emergency Preparedness and Protecting a Community from Crippling Failures, a white paper on risk mitigation and emergency preparedness from LCS.
A strong emergency preparedness plan includes financial planning and an effective communications plan. Adequate financial planning ensures comprehensive coverage when business is interrupted.
Additionally, open and clear channels of communication reassure not only remote family and friends of residents, but also help staff understand their roles and responsibilities during a crisis.
A comprehensive emergency preparedness plan includes guidelines during and after an event.
During the emergency, management needs to be vigilant about record-keeping and flexible in its decision-making. Best practices include logging all communication, properly assessing energy and resource needs, and ensuring the privacy of residents.
After an emergency, damage to the community, exhausted staff and vague communication can pose risks to the safety of residents. Providing relief staff and communicating recovery plans clearly alleviates much of the risk.