Emergency Evacuation Planning for Shelters

The importance of disaster planning is a necessary evil. It’s scary to think of the damage any unforeseen disaster may do to your insured’s business, but it’s much scarier to think of your insured as being without any emergency evacuation plan. In the aftermath of the most recent storm, as specialists in social services insurance, we feel it is important to shed some light on the importance of disaster planning for shelters.

For some, shelters may be the only source for food, a roof and a comfortable night’s sleep. An evacuation plan may not be the top priority, but for the people who depend on homeless shelters, group homes, food banks and soup kitchens to sustain their family, an evacuation plan becomes essential.

As a good starting point, a shelter can form a reciprocating evacuation plan with another shelter in a surrounding community or nearby city. This benefits both shelters as a back-up to their current arrangements. If one shelter is uninhabitable due to damages, the other shelter can open its doors to the clientele of its neighboring shelter temporarily.

Although this is a definitely a good start, more elaborate planning is essential. Your insured should have a plan on how they can transport its residents safely. Be prepared and confident that your insured’s employees have valid drivers’ licenses and insurance-approved Motor Vehicle Reports. They should also have passed a driver training course, which includes lessons on the importance of driver and passenger safety, loading and unloading procedures and job responsibilities during an emergency. Shelters may want to partner with a local transport service or rescue service and include them in their disaster planning efforts, if mass transportation will be needed for a large shelter or group home.

Having a first aid kit and back up supplies, food and water in store is another necessity. Staff should be trained in first aid and take refresher courses to stay certified.  Clients will need their medications, so develop a check list of items you will need to secure when you evacuate.

Disaster planning is a team effort. Your insured may want to set up a disaster task force and include you, local officials, fire and police department representatives, key shelter or group home staffing, building maintenance staff.

Please note: The above mentioned provides only a selection of disaster planning tips and does not cover all areas of concern for CAT planning. For assistance and more information on emergency evacuation planning and risk management, we advise insureds to contact their insurance broker and brokers to call their insureds’ insurance carriers.


AFC Insurance writes this blog. The content and opinions expressed in this blog are strictly for informative purposes from sources that are presumed accurate. AFC Insurance does not assume responsibility for any misguided information and no guarantees are implied.