Emergency Planning for Multi-Family Housing
A poorly-managed response to an emergency can put the safety and well-being of residents at risk and expose housing owners to unnecessary costs, problems and liabilities. With many citizens relying on multi-family housing facilities for shelter, it's essential to prioritize preparedness in all operations. Using the resources provided, any multi-family organization can ensure that they are better prepared for disasters, as well as able to assist in the recovery from a disaster or emergency.
An Emergency Action Plan (EAP) will help guide your organization through the difficult time that can come following a disaster or emergency situation. By assessing your vulnerability in Step 1, you should already know what sorts of hazards are more likely to affect your organization. By creating an Emergency Action Plan, your organization will have a guide to navigate the tumultuous time that follows an emergency.
Note: Your organization could have standardized plans and requirements. Be sure to check with headquarters or leadership to determine if there is a standardized policy or template for your emergency plans.
Emergency Action Plan
Red Cross Ready Rating Emergency Action Plan Template
Earlier in this process you conducted the Red Cross Ready Rating ReadyAdvance Assessment to determine your current level of preparedness within your organization. The Ready Rating program also has a template that exceeds the requirements for an OSHA 29 CFR 1910.38 complaint Emergency Action Plan (EAP). Using your organization's Ready Rating account, you can visit their website and add and remove individual sections as needed and export into a Word file. If you would like a copy of the entire template that has been updated by the City of Nashua, click here.
The Emergency Action Plan is organized into four sections:
- Alerting and Notification
- Evacuation and Sheltering
- Rendering Assistance
These sections incorporate all six core elements of an OSHA compliant Emergency Action Plan:
- A means of reporting fires and other emergencies,
- Evacuation procedures and emergency escape route assignments,
- Procedures for employees who are responsible for the orderly shutdown of critical functions before they evacuate the work area,
- A way to account for the location of all employees, visitors, and contractors after an emergency evacuation has been completed
- Guidelines covering rescue and Medical Duties for employees who may be asked to perform these actions during the emergency,
- The names or job titles of persons who can be contacted for more details.
*Please tote that this template has includes revised terminology and procedures that are consistent with Nashua and national standards.
City of Nashua Emergency Planning Functional Annexes
The City of Nashua has developed standardized appendices for your emergency action plan for each of the standardized 7 Response Actions. The 7 Response Actions provide simple actions that individuals within your facility can take to place themselves into a safe situation during the initial moments of an emergency. Using one or more of these actions during the initial moments of an emergency will handle 99% of the hazards your organization will ever encounter.
Here is an example of how the 7 Response Actions can be used:
A fire up the street from your facility prompts concern from your residents.
- Your facility activates the "Shelter-In-Place" response action, swiftly closing exterior doors, windows, shutting off heating, ventilation, and air conditioning equipment , and tuning in to local media and emergency officials for updates.
- This move reduces the concern of building occupants by limiting the amount of smoke and contaminants entering the building, enables all interior activities to continue as normal while providing your Emergency Response Team with time to organize and establish an Incident Command Post if necessary.
- From here, the Emergency Response Team would leverage their Emergency Action Plan and provide additional direction to building occupants as needed.
These annexes are meant to be added to your Emergency Action Plan as appendices. A large portion of your staff training program should incorporate the 7 Response Actions and practicing these actions through regular drills. Click the any response action below to view the response appendix. You can also access a folder containing all the 7 Response Annexes here.
**The City has adopted the Avoid, Deny, Defend model to respond to an active threat/active shooter. Find more information about A.D.D. here. This response action expands the Lockdown concept to include avoiding the threat and defending yourself if necessary. You may have seen this method called "Run, Hide, Fight" or "A.L.I.C.E".
In addition to the 7 Response Action Annexes, the City has developed template annexes for three main functions which may be necessary during an emergency. Template Annexes have been developed for Communications, Transportation, and Reunification. Some or all of these templates may be applicable to your organization. In addition, there may be additional annexes that you will want to add to your emergency action plan other responsibilities within your Emergency Response Team (security, food services, logistics, etc). Your organization can customize and edit the annexes to fit your specific needs. Click here to access a folder containing the Communications, Transportation, and Reunification Annexes.
The procedures you identify during in your Emergency Action Plan can be utilized in the NH Department of Labor Safety Summary Form within the question that asks for emergency response procedures utilized within your company.
Remember: This Emergency Action Plan focuses on the actions your organization will take to protect lives, prevent injuries, and reduce further damage and losses to your property or building. The Continuity of Operations Plan that will be discussed in Step 3: Maintaining Operations and Services will focus on how your organization will maintain or restore normal services during and immediately following emergency conditions.
Enterprise Ready to Respond Toolkit
Enterprise Community Partners' Ready to Respond Disaster Staffing Toolkit was developed to help housing organizations make their buildings resilient, prepare their staff to handle emergencies and ensure their residents remain safe.
The guide will help customize your Emergency Action Plan with specific job aids for your staff to communicate and coordinate with residents and external stakeholders during a variety of emergencies, ensure housing infrastructure can sustain shocks from a variety of emergency events, and maintain business continuity during an emergency event (described more in Step 3: Maintaining Operations and Services).
These strategies will help affordable housing organizations of all sizes manage shocks from major disasters and develop the resilience needed to adapt to future emergencies. The User Guide is a great first resource which explains the entire toolkit.
Resources and job aids for each of the positions in your organizational structure can be found here. Download all of the resources here.
Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC)
The Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) consists of stakeholders from businesses, non-profit organizations, and government agencies throughout the region, collaborating together to improve their ability to prepare for and respond to disasters. Each meeting incorporates a short training or presentation on an emergency planning topic to provide attendees with resources to make their organization more resilient the threats and hazards possible in Nashua. The meetings also serve as a good opportunity to bring emergency planning concerns to government officials and to network with other community organizations. Many multi-family housing organizations participate in the Local Emergency Planning Committee and serve in the Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster. Learn about how you can join the LEPC and integrate with the City's emergency planning efforts here.