Emergency preparedness requires the help of outside officials and organizations such as the emergency management coordinator for your area.
Who is the Emergency Management Coordinator?
The mayor of each municipal corporation and the county judge of each county are the emergency management directors for their respective jurisdictions. These officials might appoint an emergency management coordinator to manage day-to-day program activities (37 Texas Administrative Code (TAC) Section 7.2).
Local emergency management and homeland security organizations might be organized:
- At the city level, at the county level, or as an inter-jurisdictional program that includes one or more counties and multiple cities.
- As part of the mayor or county judge's staff.
- As a separate office or agency.
- As part of the local fire department or law enforcement agency.
- In other ways.
Emergency management and homeland security programs might be identified as emergency management offices or agencies, homeland security offices or agencies, or some combination of the two.
Local emergency management and homeland security programs might include:
- Threat identification and prevention activities.
- The designs and implementation of hazard mitigation programs.
- Emergency planning.
- Drills and exercises.
- The coordination of emergency response operations during disasters.
- Recovery activities in the aftermath of a disaster.
Some emergency management coordinators have their own Web sites.
Establish a committee that will write and subsequently review the emergency preparedness and response plan for your facility or agency. Coordinate your plan with your local emergency management coordinator. The plan requirements by type of facility or agency are:
- For nursing facilities, read 26 TAC Section 554.1914.
- For Type A and Type B assisted living facilities, read 26 TAC Section 553.275.
- For day activity health services facilities, read 26 TAC Section 559.64.
- For prescribed pediatric extended care centers, read 26 TAC Section 550.209.
- For home and community support services agencies, read 26 TAC Section 558.256 and in addition, read 26 TAC Section 558.871(a)(2) for hospices with their own inpatient units.
Contact your emergency management coordinator as often as needed. Keep a record of each contact.
The written plan must be based on a risk assessment that identifies the disasters from natural and man-made causes that are likely to occur in the agency's service area. (Title 26, Chapter 558 of the TAC defines the word disasters for HCSSAs.)
An agency's written emergency preparedness and response plan must describe the actions and responsibilities of agency staff in each phase of emergency planning:
- The first phase, Mitigation — An action taken to eliminate or reduce the probability of a disaster or reduce a disaster's severity or consequences.
- The second phase, Preparedness — Actions taken in anticipation of a disaster.
- The third phase, Response — Actions taken immediately before an impending disaster or during and after a disaster to address the immediate and short-term effects of the disaster.
- The fourth phase, Recovery — Activities implemented during and after a disaster response designed to return an agency to its normal operations as quickly as possible.
HCSSAs must include procedures to triage clients that allow the agency to:
- Readily access recorded information about an active client's triage category in the event of an emergency to implement the agency's response and recovery phases.
- Categorize clients into groups based on:
- The services the agency provides to a client.
- The client's need for continuity of the services the agency provides.
- The availability of someone to assume responsibility for a client's emergency response plan if needed by the client.