Emergency Planning


Updated: January 2019

Overview: Disasters that affect your facility and department will have different repercussions depending on the type. Whether it is natural or man-made, the foodservice department should respond in an organized, safe and efficient manner to provide services during the disaster. Disasters may include fires, floods, blizzards, ice storms, chemical spills, cyber security threats, terrorism, violence or any other situation that causes risk to human lives or physical property. The Certified Dietary Manager, Certified Food Protection Professional (CDM®, CFPP®) is responsible for preparing for and performing in an emergency to maintain safety for employees and customers, as well as provide food and beverage during emergency situations for up to several days.

Supplemental Material: Access the Gap Analysis Tool to supplement your practices.


Standard 1

The Certified Dietary Manager, Certified Food Protection Professional (CDM, CFPP) has an emergency plan that prioritizes safety and health of employees, customers and/or residents. The emergency plan accounts for utilities, communications, materials, supplies and technology.


Implement & Evaluate

1.1 The emergency plan is written in compliance with county, city or state guidelines and regulations.

✓ You should attempt to find out how your facility is prioritized to receive support during a disaster. This information will help you plan so you can provide the best service to those whom you are serving. If your facility is not ranked high, this will delay your trash pick-up, water supply, vendor delivery, dry ice support, etc.
✓ The plan includes debriefing with key members of the emergency team after the emergency for Continuous Performance Improvement

1.2 The emergency plan is reviewed and updated annually, or more often especially if imminent danger is present.

✓ The emergency plan is reviewed and signed by the department head and administration annually.
✓ Example: weather reports predict a storm that may affect electricity and transportation. You should review your plan and prepare.

1.3 The emergency plan is printed and available both in the department and at an off-site location. It is included in the facility plan.

✓ The location of the emergency plan should be posted near a public place where staff will read it.

1.4 All vendors with whom business is conducted should also have an emergency plan in place.

1.5 The emergency plan includes contact information for key members of the emergency team.

Key members of the emergency plan may include:
✓ Administration
✓ “Command center” contacts
✓ Foodservice staff
✓ Foodservice distributors
✓ Utility companies
✓ County or city crisis
✓ Management team officials
✓ Update calling list regularly

1.6 The emergency plan includes roles and responsibilities for all members of the department in case of emergency.

✓ New employees know their role in emergencies
✓ Enlist non-dietary staff as needed in emergencies in effort to not disrupt food preparation and delivery

1.7 The emergency plan includes delivery, storage and preparation methods in the event of service interruptions or loss of power.

✓ Enlist the assistance of non-dietary staff to deliver meals as needed
✓ Menus, recipes and diet orders are available in printed format

1.8 The emergency plan includes reviewing insurance coverage and who is responsible for proper documentation including, but not limited to, pictures and recording food service department losses.

1.9 The emergency plan includes step-by-step instructions for each position.

✓ Staff and CDM, CFPP should know where the plan is located and perform their roles during practice drills
✓ A person in charge (PIC) is designated in the CDM, CFPP’s absence.

1.10 The emergency plan includes evacuation instructions.

✓ Evacuation may be the only option during an emergency
✓ Each member of the department knows what their role is (assisting residents, employees, contacting emergency services, etc.)

1.11 If a backup generator is available, it complies with safety and regulation checks.

✓ Keep a list of which equipment is covered by the generator
✓ Have contact information of companies and resources for alternate power sources

1.12 The emergency plan includes mutual aid agreements with other facilities in the area if the emergency only applies to your facility.

1.13 All staff is trained and evaluated on emergency planning. They know their roles and can demonstrate skills in the event of any emergency.

Competence Training:
✓ CDM, CFPP trains staff on emergency planning including practical application skills of each employee
✓ CDM, CFPP documents competence training/in-service attendance and competence skill testing evaluation
✓ CDM, CFPP tests their department outside of the facility-wide practice drills to ensure preparedness
✓ CDM, CFPP keeps records in the department
✓ CDM, CFPP designates an employee to train and implement plan in CDM, CFPP's absence

Standard 2

The Certified Dietary Manager, Certified Food Protection Professional (CDM, CFPP) has an emergency plan to includes a menu to offer uninterrupted service of food and beverage to their customers. The menu shall meet the nutritional needs of the customers as well as the facility staff for a minimum of seven days, including food, water, paper supplies and chemicals.


Implement & Evaluate

2.1 The emergency plan includes preparedness for loss of clean water supply.

✓ The menu includes foods that do not require water for cooking
✓ Clean drinking water is on hand, using a guideline of ½ gallon per person per day for drinking.
✓ A written contract with a supplier for bottled water supplies.
✓ Clean drinking water is checked and rotated a minimum of every six months, checking expiration or useby dates.
✓ Maintain a 7-day supply of disposable serving products (plates, utensils, cups)
✓ Maintain a 7-day supply of hand sanitizer and disposable gloves
✓ A contingency plan, in conjunction with the facilities director, for restroom facilities is in place
✓ A contingency plan for cooking equipment that requires water is in place
✓ Potable water is available for cooking
✓ Collapsible water containers are available to transport water
✓ If weather warnings occur, there is a plan for filling water containers with clean water and storing containers covered in a storage area
✓ Instructions on how to clean and sanitize equipment without water are available

2.2 The emergency plan includes food delivery options if without elevator usage or transportation vehicles.

2.3 The emergency menu includes preparedness for loss of electricity.

The plan includes:
✓ Ready-to-serve canned meat, vegetables, and fruits.
✓ Canned juices, shelf-stable milk, tube-feeding formula, and oral supplements.
✓ A current agreement with a vendor to supply ice or ice blankets.
✓ Contact information for companies that have refrigerated trucks or generators.
✓ A plan on how to minimize loss by using refrigerated food immediately, frozen food next, etc.
✓ A contingency plan for foodservice equipment that uses electricity such as cash registers, ovens, lighting (e.g. access to a manual can opener).
✓ Utilize insulated warming boxes as available to keep hot foods hot
✓ Maintain computer files on back-up drives or cloud-based services
✓ Keep flash lights in the department

Example of an Emergency Plan for Interruption of Electrical Service

An interruption of electrical service is defined as two hours or more.

Response: Affected Operations Refrigeration

Note the time the power outage begins AND Monitor and record food temperatures every two hours.

✓ Utilize refrigerated items first, then frozen food items.
✓ Keep refrigeration equipment doors closed.
✓ Pack potentially hazardous food in commercially-made ice or dry ice (note the precautions for using dry ice).
✓ Do not put hot food into refrigeration equipment.
✓ Plan ahead for trips in and out of the coolers or freezers to minimize the number of times the door is opened.
✓ Hot Food Holding Note the time the power outage begins
✓ Discard all potentially hazardous foods that have been held below 140 degrees F for more than four hours OR Use an alternate heat source such as “canned heat” and monitor temperatures hourly. Note: If power returns within four hours, reheat food to 165 degrees F.

2.4 The emergency menu includes preparedness for flood or sewage backup.

A variety of food products stored in secured areas such as high shelving, away from sewer lines and pipes.

✓ A supply of bleach and formulas for dilution.
✓ A contingency plan for using bathroom facilities without water including hand washing.
✓ A contingency plan for water if potable water is contaminated.
✓ Reference to the “Affected Water Supply” plan if potable water is contaminated.
✓ Contact information for plumbers or emergency personnel who can assist you.

2.5 Supplies of emergency water and food are rotated every six months.

✓ Documentation of rotation and inventory par levels are kept in the department
✓ Note use-by or expiration dates


Legvold, Dee, and Salisbury, Kristi. Foodservice Management by Design. Association of Nutrition & Foodservice Professionals, 2nd Edition, 2018.

Kristin Klinefelter, MS, RDN, LD has been in the dietetics field for 20 years, working in a variety of consulting and education capacities. She has been working with the University of North Dakota's Nutrition and Foodservice Training Program for ten years and served on the Certifying Board for Dietary Managers (CBDM) for six years.

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