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Fire and Natural Disaster Procedures

The purpose of this procedure is to delineate Department on Disability Services (DDS) and provider responsibilities and establish standards and guidelines for: developing plans for responding to fire and other emergencies; engaging in training of emergency procedures; and identifying each person's abilities, strengths and needs in self-preservation to identify supports needed to respond to an emergency; and practicing routine safety measures.

Procedures

  1. Required Provider Policies and Procedures
    1. All providers of residential services, day services, and respite services, shall develop and implement policies and procedures to promote emergency preparedness. Providers shall also develop a plan for responding to emergencies in accordance with this policy and procedure.
  2. Written Personal Emergency Preparedness Plan
    1. All providers of residential services and day services shall develop a written personal emergency preparedness plan (“PEPP”) for each person the provider supports, based upon an assessment of the person's skills, strengths and the supports the person requires to respond safely to emergency situations. Except that, for a person in a non-facility based supported employment program, instead of a PEPP, the provider must have documentation that the person has received an orientation to the employment site and training on the employer’s emergency plans. The PEPP must be specific to a person’s typical day activities. The PEPP shall be updated annually and reviewed with the person at least quarterly. The provider shall also keep a record of the annual assessment and quarterly review with the person.
    2. For people who live independently, or with their families, the person’s DDS service coordinator, shall, at least annually, discuss emergency preparedness, share resources for planning, and offer to assist in developing a PEPP. In-home support and respite provider staff who provide services in the person’s home are required to be trained on and familiar with the PEPP, if a person has one.
    3. Each PEPP shall address evacuation, severe weather procedures, and any other emergency procedures that are needed and wanted by the person. The PEPP shall also include contact and personal information, including emergency contacts.
    4. For all providers of residential services, respite services, and all providers with facility-based day services the PEPP shall include:
      1. Plans to ensure that the person has a sufficient supply of prescription medication;
      2. The supports needed to assist the person in evacuating or moving to a safe area of the home/ facility if he or she unable to do so independently;
      3. How the person will be notified of the need to evacuate, if the person requires the use of specialized equipment such as flashing or vibrating smoke alarm.
      4. If the person is unable to evacuate within the requirement outlined in the fire code of the jurisdiction for the type of building, an acceptable plan must be developed to respond in emergencies. The provider will establish a benchmark for safe evacuation based on the architecture of the home or building, the level of independence and available supports. That benchmark will not exceed five minutes without the written approval of the DDS Deputy Director for DDA.
      5. If, during a drill, the person is not able to successfully meet the established benchmark, within seven (7) calendar days the provider shall develop a plan to safely evacuate the person. The team may have to consider environmental modifications or alternate housing or day program location if the person is unable to safely evacuate.
  3. Comprehensive Emergency Preparedness Plan
    1. All providers of residential services, respite services, and all providers with facility-based day services shall develop a comprehensive emergency preparedness plan (“CEPP”) for each home/service location. The requirement for a provider to have a CEPP is not defined by the type of service provided, but rather by where the people they support spend their time. If people are supported within a facility, even if there are regularly occurring community outings, the provider must have a CEPP. Additionally, in facility-based day services programs, exits must be clearly marked and exit routes must be posted, if not immediately apparent.
    2. In lieu of a CEPP, non-facility based day services providers shall develop a written plan and train staff on how to respond in the event of severe weather while people are out in the community. For people who are in a non-facility based supported employment program, documentation that the person has received an orientation to the employment site and training on the employer’s emergency plans is sufficient.
    3. The CEPP must include the provider’s plan to operationalize during an emergency to ensure adequate supplies of water, food, medication and emergency equipment. For residential providers, this specifically includes, but is not limited to:
      1. Three day supply of non-perishable food;
      2. Three day supply of bottled water (one gallon per day per person); and
      3. Needed emergency equipment, including flashlights, battery operated radio, extra batteries and a standard first aid kit, as recommended by the American Red Cross, for example.
    4. The CEPP shall address evacuation, including, but not limited to:
      1. The primary and secondary routes of egress from each room/ area;
      2. The location of the meeting area;
      3. Means of notifying people of the need to evacuate, including any specialized equipment, such as flashing smoke alarms (if the person has a PEPP that includes this information, that is sufficient); and
      4. If there is an automatic detection/ alarm system, the provider shall include a means to initiate evacuation in the event the alarm system is not operational.
      5. A plan to transport people to a new location if the need arrives; and
      6. An alternative route or means of transportation in case all or part of the usual route is blocked.
    5. The CEPP shall address severe weather, including, but not limited to:
      1. Location of safe areas in the home/ facility;
      2. A plan to transport people to a new location if the need arrives; and
      3. An alternative route or means of transportation in case all or part of the usual route is blocked.
    6. For all providers of residential services and all providers with facility-based day services, the CEPP must encompass the PEPP for each person who routinely receives supports at that home/service location.
    7. The CEPP shall be tested through drills, in which each person and their support staff participates.
  4. Training
    1. All providers shall train staff on the CEPP for each home/ service location in which the staff person works, as well as on the PEPP for each person the staff supports. Training must occur at least annually and continually as changes are made to the plans. The provider shall maintain training records and make records available to DDS upon request.
  5. Drills
    1. The CEPP will be tested through drills, in which each person and their support staff participates.
      1. The provider will conduct drills at various times and during different activities. Unless the person’s assessment shows that this would be required as part of emergency preparation, drills are not required when the person is sleeping.
      2. Unannounced fire drills will be conducted by supervisory staff monthly with a rotating schedule to cover different shifts. If a day program requires a variance from this requirement (e.g., the program is based in a commercial building) the provider must present a plan for approval to the DDS Deputy Director for DDA, or his or her designee.
      3. Unannounced severe weather drills or other emergency drills will be conducted quarterly by supervisory staff.
    2. The provider will maintain a record of drills and make the records available for review. The record will include:
      1. Date the drill was conducted.
      2. Type of drill (fire, evacuation, etc.).
      3. Time of day the drill was conducted.
      4. Time it takes all people to safely leave the building and arrive at the assembly area. Each person's evacuation time should be recorded individually and with the type of assistance required.
      5. Number of people involved in the drill.
      6. Any problems encountered during the drill.
      7. The name and title of the person conducting the drill.
      8. The signature of the person conducting the drill.
    3. If the person's Individual Support Plan (“ISP”) indicates that the person has demonstrated self-preservation skills and does not require this level of practice, or that the requirement to conduct drills is intrusive or undesirable to the person, the support team may describe how the provider will ensure the person gains or maintains self-preservation skills and how the person is safe during emergencies. The provider will ensure that the PEPP for each person explains any variances and the assurance that the person is able to self-preserve, is receiving necessary supports to improve self-preservation skills and is safe during emergencies.
  6. Evaluation of Emergency Procedures
    1. The provider will evaluate at least annually the emergency procedures for each person to assure the person knows what to do in an emergency, supports are identified and available for the person to safely respond to an emergency and that support staff is trained and respond accurately in an emergency. The provider shall also evaluate each CEPP on at least an annual basis.
    2. The provider will submit the evaluation of their emergency procedures to DDS Provider Resource Management Unit for review.
  7. Notification to DDS
    1. The provider must report fire, evacuations or relocations due to severe weather, and any other use of a PEPP or CEPP to DDS, in accordance with DDS’s Incident Management Enforcement Unit policy and corresponding procedures.
  8. Sanctions
    1. DDS may impose sanctions on providers who do not comply with the Fire and Natural Disaster policy or procedure, or who have deficient performances in emergency preparedness, in accordance with DDS’s Sanctions Policy and related procedures.