Disaster Resources: Preparedness, Response and Recovery

Members | September 08, 2017 | by Colleen Bloom

LeadingAge maintains a user-friendly toolkit to help senior living organizations prepare for and respond when disaster strikes.  Resources include links to identify local emergency response agencies, along with videos, guides, worksheets and checklists.   Recently added, a new Fire and Water Damage Restoration Guide by Consumer Affairs that includes extensive information on choosing a restoration team for water, fire and data restoration after a disaster; and a new list of recommendations from HHS to first responders to ensure equal access to emergency services for all individuals.   (If you have other resources you've found particularly useful, please share them us!)

LeadingAge Disaster Resources: Preparedness, Response and Recovery

PreparednessPandemic Flu ResourcesDisaster ResponseRecovery   


Important Links for Weather-Related Disasters in Progress 


National Hurricane Center Tracking/Storm Status - Get real time status reports on the latest hurricane via the National Hurricane Center

State Emergency Management Agencies - Find localized information on your state’s emergency management website or other digital channels.

Map of open shelter locations - Listing maintained by the American Red Cross in the event of emergency

CMS Hurricane Information and Policy Guidance - Waivers, public health emergency declarations, Medicare fee-for-service payment and billing policies, information on the Emergency Prescription Assistance Program, and other hurricane-related information.   

HUD Multifamily Disaster Response Policies and Guidance - To assist residents displaced by hurricanes, HUD often requests vacancy information be submitted from all Owners and Agents of HUD Insured or Assisted Multifamily Properties. Links also accesses HUD guidance (Chapter 38) and status info.

[See also Contact Loved Ones and the Red Cross National "Safe and Well" Registry info below, in "disaster recovery" below for information on how to post and check status of loved ones during and immediately following a disaster.


Disaster Preparedness  

Ready to Respond: Disaster Staffing Toolkit, a user-friendly toolkit that includes videos, guides, worksheets and checklists to help housing organizations prepare to respond when disaster strikes. 

Ready.gov - Ready.gov is the official Homeland Security site which has special preparedness info for seniors/disabled, checklists, links to state and community information, and ways to get involved with your local Citizen Corps to better prepare your community through participation in local planning and exercises.

FEMA hurricane preparedness information - Hurricane information from FEMA and Homeland Security.

Disaster Assistance.gov - Integrated Access to Disaster Recovery and Response Resources
An easy-to-use website that consolidates disaster information in one place, launched in 2009 with 17 U.S. Government agencies, sponsoring more than 50 forms of disaster assistance, contributing to the website. It includes an anonymous assistance eligibility survey and a single, online application which will allow for online status checks for applications submitted here.

Emergency Readiness Kit for Older Adults and Caregivers - For those who rely on residents to have their own plans in case of emergency, the CDC has compiled a range of state and local specific checklists and resources specifically to help seniors make their own personal plans.

Updating Your Disaster Plan - A LeadingAge publication (2003) with significant resources and checklists to help facilities across the continuum update their disaster response plans for all purposes in a post-9/11 environment.

LeadingAge New Jersey Emergency Plan Development Guide - A disaster plan template developed by LeadingAge New Jersey (formerly NJANPHA)

AHRQ Emergency Preparedness Atlas: U.S. Nursing Home and Hospital Facilities - U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) resource that can help states and communities with disaster planning and response for nursing homes Includes case studies and maps for all 50 states to help communities identify local healthcare facilities (hospitals and nursing homes) that could be available and prepared to provide assistance under emergency conditions.

Astrodome Analysis: Best Practices for Managing Elderly Disaster Victims - Baylor College of Medicine's analysis and review of how state and local organizations can implement a triage tool in mass evacuation shelters to assure that seniors receive critical services and direct care - providing model assessment tool and recommended strategies for use/intervention.

Making Community Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Response Programs Accessible to Persons with Disabilities  - U.S. Dept of Justice - ADA report provides practical and detailed recommendations to address the unique planning, notification, evacuation and sheltering challenges for those who work with seniors and other persons with physical limitations, chronic health issues and/or communications impairments. A MUST READ for all planners who work with the elderly. 

Workplace Violence: OSHA Guidelines for Preventing Workplace Violence for Healthcare and Social Service Workers - Healthcare and social service workers face an increased risk of work-related assaults resulting primarily from violent behavior of their patients, clients and/or residents.  OSHA has determined that a written program for workplace violence prevention, incorporated into an organization’s overall safety and health program, offers an effective approach to reduce or eliminate the risk of violence in the workplace.  


Disaster Response 

For individuals impacted by a disaster, in order to receive any kind of federal assistance, you must register first with FEMA. A good resource is FEMA's 3 Step Guide for Assistance; after that, you can apply online or call 800-621-3362 / TTY 800-462-7585. Register to let your family and friends know that you are safe and well and give them peace of mind.

In a community struggling to respond to and recover from a disaster, an influx of unexpected or unneeded volunteers can make the process even more difficult. If you just want to help, the best way to volunteer if you are not affiliated with an organization is to identify the appropriate volunteer reception center and register your interest/availability to help.

State Emergency Management Agencies - Be  connected to first-responders, preferably before a disaster hits.  Find localized information on your state’s emergency management website or other digital channels.  

HUD Multifamily Disaster Response Policies and Guidance - access HUD guidance on owner/agent obligations and HUD field office actions following an emergency (Chapter 38 of Handbook 4350.1) and the national housing locator registry.

Rural Development Disaster Assistance - USDA has posted its own disaster response information and resources related to Harvey.

Emergency Care Guidance for Dementia Residents  - A coalition of providers and consumer groups has released the Dementia Care Training Guide, offering a roadmap to nursing facility staff for caring for people with dementia during emergencies such as a major disease outbreak or hurricane. Members of the coalition include the Alzheimer’s Association, the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging, the American Health Care Association, the National Center for Assisted Living, and more. 

HHS Identifies Practices and Resources for Emergency Responders/Officials to Help Ensure Individuals Have Equal Access to Emergency Services - HHS' Office of Civil Rights has identified practices and resources for emergency responders and officials to consider to ensure equal access to all and avoide separating people from their sources of support, such as service animals, durable medical equipment, caregivers, medication and supplies. 


Disaster Recovery 

Contact Loved Ones - A free emergency voicemail service that helps people get in touch with each other in times of crisis. CLO lets you both listen to and leave messages without a security code. The service can be accessed from any working telephone 24-hours a day. Even if your direct number is not functional, the CLO system collects and reports information based on your primary contact telephone number. CLO's direct service line is 443-992-4890 

If you are displaced from your home, evacuate from your facility, and/or if your regular telephone isn't working, you can leave messages to let people know how you are and how you can be contacted. You can also listen to messages that others have left for you. If you are trying to reach someone who has been affected by a disaster, you can listen to messages they have left and leave messages for them to pick up.

Red Cross National "Safe and Well" Registry - If you have been affected by a disaster, this website provides a way for you to register yourself as “safe and well” - to communicate to your family members, letting them know of your well-being. Concerned family and friends can search the list of those who have registered themselves as “safe and well,” also.

FEMA state offices -
List of State Offices and Agencies of Emergency Management, with links disaster info, planning and applying for assistance, should the need arise. 

HUD Research and Resources for Flood Recovery Toolkit  - Includes research reports, other publications, and links and is free. Print copies are free for Midwest flood area residents from 1-800-245-2691, option 1.

*NEW* Fire and Water Damage Restoration Guide - Consumer Affairs guide that includes extensive information on water, fire and data restoration after a disaster. It also offers advice on what qualities to consider when choosing a restoration team such as certification, experience, asset protection, recovery time and storage options. 

Picking Up the Pieces - A Housing Assistance Council guide to rural housing resources for disasters

Disaster Mental Health Links  - Duke University resource (recommended by Bob Roush) offering a range of resources for disaster responders, health providers, families and victims of disasters needing help recognizing and addressing common mental health issues in a post-traumatic environment.

More Mental Health Resources  - Centers on Disease Control/Mental Health Unit easy-to-use publications, worksheets, tips and articles - to help individuals and organizations respond to disaster related stress.  

We Can Do Better: Lessons Learned for Protecting Older Adults in Disasters  - AARP Public Policy Institute report featuring information and best practices regarding protecting older adults in the midst of a disaster.


 Pandemic Flu Resources

OSHA Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for an Influenza Pandemic - Employers and employees can use this planning guidance to help identify risk levels in workplace settings and appropriate control measures that include good hygiene, cough etiquette, social distancing, the use of personal protective equipment, and staying home from work when ill. 

PandemicFlu.gov -
PandemicFlu.gov provides one-stop access to U.S. Government avian and pandemic flu information, including federal, state, local, business and individual planning resources and monitoring links. 

Pandemic Flu Checklist for Residential Care Facilities   - CMS and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently issued a checklist to help nursing homes and other residential care facilities assess and improve their ability to respond to a flu pandemic.