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Top 10 Tips for Disaster Planning

This list was compiled during the Be Prepared! Disaster Planning Top 10! session at the 2018 Annual Conference & Expo by a panel of speakers, including Hunter Hying, CDM, CFPP, Kim Kyle, CDM, CFPP, Ken Owens, CDM, CFPP, and Barbara Thomsen, RAC-CT, ICAC, CDM, CFPP, with audience participation.

1. Know what your disaster levels are based on your National Emergency Preparedness State Warning System and educate your staff on them.

2. Develop a disaster plan with corresponding specific policies and procedures, including:

  • Water supply plan
  • Feeding plan
  • Staff contingency plan

3. Ensure a safe and adequate water supply is available, per FEMA Emergency Water Guidelines. Consider a contract to obtain emergency potable water supply on demand.

4. Have on hand at all times, as mandated by the CMS Federal Regulations, food items to cover your facility’s disaster menu policy, which includes the length of time for your plan. Make sure your policy is in compliance with your state regulations as well.

5. The Staff Contingency Plan should include tiered levels of services provided based on staffing levels available. Be sure to include communication to staff in the plan. Train foodservice staff so they are prepared for their emergency duties as well as revised serving and dining protocols.

6. Initiate your Disaster Plan within one hour of official disaster notification. Communicate the role the foodservice department will play in safeguarding the food and water supplies to all levels of personnel within your facility.

7. Keep your facility’s Disaster Plan Manual in an easily accessible location, with the current Food and Nutrition Services department policy clearly identified. Make sure it is readily available and staff is aware of the location.

8. Establish your Disaster Plan Menu. Feed clientele using existing food supplies in the following order:

  • Perishable stock
  • Inventory in refrigerator and freezer
  • Dry storage
  • Emergency disaster food supply

9. Evaluate conditions for water supply, power, ware-washing and storage. Follow your policy for implementing use of paper products. Be sure your plan ensures adequate supply of paper products on hand.

10. Be sure to update your facility disaster plan annually and TRAIN, TRAIN, TRAIN. BE PREPARED!

Download a disaster plan template HERE.


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