TEXAS – TIPS FOR AGENCY PROGRAM DISASTER PREPAREDNESS
Gina Muniz is the Business Continuity Coordinator from Texas Department of Family and
Protective Services. She was actively involved in the preparation and recovery of Katrina and
Rita. After attending the NRC-CWDT Coastal IT Workshop for the eight coastal States she
developed the following list of programmatic tips for other States to consider when developing a
; Identify a Business Continuity team that will help you promote the work you are
doing. This team will assist you in facilitating the development of the plans that are
; You cannot write a plan for someone else. They need to know what is in the plan so
they can act on it.
; Identify the key Business units that will be included with in the plan. This will not
just be child welfare but all the areas that support them such as Legal, IT, HR, etc.
Review of the units should include the functions they perform and how critical they
are to the overall goals of the plan.
; Identify critical external contacts such as judges and local law enforcement. Work
with them to identify any concerns they may have.
; Work closely with IT and Telecommunications. Their goal is to recovery IT systems,
hardware, data, etc. Their time to respond may be in conflict with the response time
needed to stay in contact with staff and to protect the children.
; Be familiar with federal and state regulatory impacts and ensure they are addressed in
; Identify potential threats and develop plans accordingly. You can prepare staff and
foster parents on when a hurricane may impact but you can’t with a tornado. Think
about how to respond to each.
; Develop a Communication Plan and determine when to implement. Plans should
include a message for employees, foster parents, the media, and the general public. ; Within the communication plan, templates should be developed that can be used in
any type of emergency event.
; Develop a means to share the plans. Some ways to share include agency internet or
intranet site, e-mail, phone calls or public service announcements. ; Staff should be aware how they should stay in contact with management. ; Set guidelines and train staff on how to share expectations with foster parents. ; Foster parents should be aware how they should stay in contact with agency. Create a
template for families to utilize to prepare for an emergency.
; Determine an alternate site and identify what resources are needed to allow business
to continue. This is especially important for buildings that are already known to be in
high risk areas.
; Determine how business will continue if staff are impacted by the event. Identify
teams prior to the incident. Consider utilizing “sister” counties who can pick up the
work for the affected area.
; Develop an agency training methodology so staffs are always trained on how the
agency responds. This should also address your recovery team training. ; Develop testing methodology and schedule tests. Practice what you have developed
so staff members know what to do without having to search for their copy of the plan.
FLORIDA – TIPS FOR PROGRAM DISASTER PREPAREDNESS
Kim Brock, former IT director in Florida, offered his Information Technology Tips for disaster
Preparedness in a separate document. Below are considerations he offers from the program
; Communicate with foster care and facility providers to ensure they have
disaster/evacuation plans and advise them of how to contact the agency for updates
and client status.
; Develop media plans to advise customers/clients of what to expect and how to obtain
; Develop draft waiver requests for federal approval of emergency food stamp and
other program related modifications to regular program requirements post disaster. ; Establish liaison with federal counterparts to ensure timely communication of issues
; Ensure continuity of operations plan has been updated and is comprehensive ; Establish presence on emergency operations teams at central, regional and local levels.
Develop contacts among these groups.
; Negotiate with National Guard, transportation and other entities for emergency fuel
for critical staff.
; Negotiate for sites to support disaster services, (fairgrounds, parks, etc.). ; Plan for physical security services and coordinate with law enforcement to identify
placement of facilities on priority list in advance of storm.
; Identify first responder teams that will manage critical facilities during disasters and
teams that will be the first into the field after a disaster.
; Identify operations managers, logistics managers, human resource managers and site
managers in advance of disasters.
; Encourage development of individual disaster plans, including 3-7 days of food,
water, medicine; include fuel, evacuation routes and alternate phone numbers for
employees that relocate.
; Designate staff to support shelter operations and provide capability for criminal
checks on evacuees.
; Give staff time to prepare personally for the disaster.