disaster preparedness

Disaster Preparedness a Key Focus for Elder Care Alliance Communities

From wildfires to earthquakes to hurricanes, natural disasters have dominated the news recently. Across the country, people worry about whether they are prepared for the next destructive act by Mother Nature.

At Elder Care Alliance, team members take a variety of precautions to ensure that vital services continue in the event of a natural disaster or other emergency. Phil Altman, Regional Director of Operations, noted that in the areas of California that are home to Elder Care Alliance communities, disasters like fires, earthquakes and tsunamis can occur. As a result, phone service and electricity can go out for extended periods.

How Does Elder Care Alliance Prepare?

All Elder Care Alliance communities meet or exceed state standards for emergency supplies, Phil said. In addition, all sites have a generator, although generators are not mandatory under state regulations. At each community, the entire management team is devoted to emergency planning, and every department in each community has its own plan.

In addition, Elder Care Alliance contracts with an outside company that conducts semi-annual training sessions with staff members. One annual training session covers fire emergencies, and the second gives a general overview of various types of potential disasters, including a lost resident, earthquake, power outage and others. The contractor also trains the organization’s directors on the proper protocols of a command structure, and team members run through a full simulated drill.

Putting Preparation to Work

Even after significant preparation, most people are never truly prepared when disaster strikes. Natural disasters like wildfires don’t always follow predictable patterns, and unforeseen needs can arise.

Elder Care Alliance team members have done more than prepare for emergency situations; they have put their training and readiness measures to work in real-life situations.

Over the past four years, two Elder Care Alliance communities lost all phone and internet, Phil noted, adding that the preparations staff members had made worked well in keeping the community secure and communicating with the outside world.

In 2015, the company also experienced an internal fire in the middle of the night at AlmaVia of Camarillo. “Our staff did a great job and was appreciated by the local fire department for their quick responses,” Phil said.

Team members are prepared to continue operations with no outside assistance for up to a week following a disaster, Phil noted, and they participate in monthly drills to prepare for a variety of scenarios that require prompt action.

“Being prepared for an emergency is very important,” he said. “You never know when one will strike.”