Core Function Four: Sheltering Arrangements

Shelter-in-Place

Evacuations are not always to a shelter located outside of a facility. An evacuation can also be to an "area of refuge" within the facility. This internal evacuation is often called "shelter-in-place".

What is an Area of Refuge?

An area of refuge is a place in a building where people who are unable to use emergency means of egress can safely wait for assistance.

People in an area of refuge must be able to exit the building without having to return to the area from which they arrived to the area of refuge.

Areas of refuge exist when smoke barriers and doors subdivide the floors of a building into compartments that can serve as areas of refuge. (The smoke barriers must have a particular fire resistance rating and the doors must have a particular fire protection rating.) This subdivision also limits:

  1. the spread of fire and smoke; and
  2. the number of people exposed to a fire.

A floor plan that identifies each area of refuge within your facility should be part of your disaster plan.

Consider questions such as:

  1. Is each area of refuge accessible to people who use wheelchairs?
  2. Is each area of refuge equipped with a means to communicate with people who are outside of the area?

Identify scenarios or conditions that could occur and that would let your residents, individuals, or clients' shelter-in-place.

Ensure that your disaster plan considers the following topics.

The Decision to Shelter-in-Place

Consider questions such as:

  1. How will you monitor the condition of residents, individuals, or clients who do not evacuate?
  2. Will your facility have sufficient staff?
  3. Will your facility have sufficient food (including food for special diets), water, medications, comfortable ambient temperatures, etc.— (Emergency planners recommend a 7- to 14-day supply of food and water.)
  4. Will your facility have electrical power?
  5. Who will notify first responders?

The Movement of Residents, Individuals, and Clients

Consider questions such as:

  1. What equipment is available to move residents between rooms and floors?
  2. Where is this equipment stored?
  3. Can staff in each shift access this equipment?
  4. Do staff members in each shift know how to use this equipment?
  5. Are residents, individuals, and clients who require this equipment identified?
  6. How this information is kept current in the disaster plan?
  7. If you have an elevator and this elevator does not work, will staff be able to carry supplies to the upper floors?
  8. Do the upper floors of your facility already have supplies for an emergency?

Your Facility Receives Evacuees

If your facility might be used as a shelter in a disaster for an evacuating facility, identify:

  1. the receiving procedures for arriving evacuees;
  2. where evacuees will stay at your facility (provide a floor plan that identifies these areas);
  3. how your facility will meet the needs of the evacuees (such as dietary and medical needs);
  4. how your facility will respond to inquiries from family members; and
  5. how your facility will coordinate security needs with the local police.

Each resident evacuee must, at a minimum, have as soon as feasible after admission:

  1. physician orders for care;
  2. medications;
  3. a care plan;
  4. existing directives; and
  5. emergency notification information.

If you receive children who are disabled, your facility must meet the regulations for pediatric residents.

Be familiar with the FIVES system (see the next page). If your facility will not be used as a sheltering facility, make that statement in your disaster plan.

Remember that licensed providers must meet the licensure requirements, and certified providers must meet the licensure and certification contract requirements. A facility must not exceed its licensed capacity. However, during a disaster such as a hurricane, your facility or your corporate office should monitor the DADS Web site. This Web site usually posts guidance for facilities that accept evacuees.

The DADS Web site is: http://www.dads.state.tx.us/.