Emergency Shelter Management Plan

By Samantha Marshall,2014-06-17 17:42
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Emergency Shelter Management Plan ...

    Emergency Shelter Management Plan



    This manual is directed to principals and site administrators of schools/sites that are designated shelters. This manual is divided into sections, each of which will help the shelter manager understand the scope of the district‘s responsibilities, how to prepare

    the school for use as a shelter, how to open and operate a shelter and, finally, how to close a shelter.

    I. Overview

    II. Long Term Planning for Shelter Operations

    III. Short Term Planning for Shelter Operations

    IV. Shelter Operations

    V. Shelter Deactivation

    VI. Special Needs Shelters/Issues

    VII. Media In the Shelter

    VIII. Shelter Activation Flowchart

    IX. Sample Responsibilities Chart

    X. Sample Assignment List

    XI. Sample Checklist for Pre-Shelter Opening

    XII. Shelter Registration Form

    Appendix A: Agreement between XXXX County & The School Board

    Appendix B: Shelter Resident Information Sheet

     Appendix C: Suggested Registration Area

     Appendix D: Definitions


    In the case of an approaching hurricane, or some other major emergency event affecting our community, the XXXX County Department of Emergency Management (DEM) will convene the Disaster Advisory Committee. This Committee (which includes the Superintendent or his designee) will discuss what recommendations they will make, as a body, to the County Administrator. The County Administrator will then make a recommendation for a particular course of action to the Board of County Commissioners (BCC). The BCC will then recommend a proper course of action; such action may include various levels of evacuation in order to address the local emergency. Depending on the orders of the BCC, XXXX County Schools may be ordered to open emergency shelters.

    Shelters fall into two categories; host shelters and risk shelters. Host shelters consist of buildings that serve to quarter persons when there is no additional threat from the elements. For example, host shelters might be required to accept persons from Florida‘s

east coast who, because of an emergency, require some type of shelter and there is no

    likelihood that XXXX County will be affected by the same emergency.

    Risk shelters are meant to house evacuees and protect them from severe weather.

    Typically, as in the case of an approaching hurricane, our schools will be called upon to

    serve as risk shelters. If schools are to be used as risk shelters, persons may not be

    housed in cafeterias, gymnasiums, auditoriums or other places where there is a large

    roof span. Therefore, evacuees will need to be assigned to hallways and other common

    areas approved for use; if warranted, classrooms may be added and used when


    If shelters are required to be opened, individual principals, assistant principals, and

    other personnel as required shall be notified by the Area Superintendent responsible for

    the current activation. As public employees, these personnel are expected to report

    as directed and failure to report will result in disciplinary action. Specific opening

    hours will be communicated to the shelter manager at the time. The shelter manager

    will them be responsible for notifying shelter personnel assigned to the shelter, with the

    exception of food service and maintenance personnel who will be notified by their

    respective managers.


At the beginning of the hurricane season, the principal or administrator of each school

    or site that has been designated a shelter shall develop plans appropriate to ensure

    efficient and safe shelter operations. At the minimum, the plan shall include the tasks

    listed below:

    ? Obtain from your Area Superintendent a list of PCSB personnel who will be

    assigned to your shelter.

    ? Develop an assignment sheet consistent with the ICS model and the

    responsibilities listed in the remainder of this manual. (e.g., Ms. Jones will be

    assigned as the Operations Manager, Mr. Smith will be assigned as the Logistics

    Manager, etc.)

    ? Review you access routes onto the campus and determine where you will have a

    drop off lane for arriving evacuees. If you will need traffic cones, the number and

    type should be determined, then secured and stored prior to the arrival of any

    storms. Cones are available through the warehouse.

    ? Review your bus access routes so that arriving buses, whenever possible, will

    not conflict with the arriving evacuees who are unfamiliar with your school.

    Determine if cones are necessary for this.

    ? Develop and store signs (or store them electronically so that they can be printed

    when shelters open) for use during shelter operations that will assist evacuees

    with finding things like bathrooms and the cafeteria (keeping in mind that your

    evacuees are completely unfamiliar with your campus).

    ? Develop an ―information board‖ (e.g., a white board on an easel, or a bulleting

    board to post notices) that will allow you to communicate information to evacuees.

    For example, storm status and the time of the next meal are questions that are

    frequently asked. (See Appendix B for additional rules you may post.)


    ? Determine which classrooms will be used if circumstances warrant, and the order

    in which they will be opened.

    ? While smoking on BOARD property is prohibited, we recognize that evacuees

    who smoke are addicted to nicotine and will smoke. Therefore, you should

    identify and designate a smoking area that will be as far removed as practicable

    from the balance of the evacuees. This area should be equipped with two or

    three small sand filled cans (empty #10 steel cans may be obtained from your

    food service staff) so their cigarettes butts can be discarded appropriately.

These items shall be recorded so that if you are out of town, unavailable or another

    principal replaces you, they can rely on your plan.


It is the responsibility of all shelter managers, and all PCSB personnel who have been

    notified that they will be required to work when shelters have been activated, to pay

    attention to all related weather developments regarding the approach of hurricanes.

When the storm is projected to strike the XXXX Area within 36 hours, you must, as

    shelter manager, accomplish the following items in order to prepare your school for

    possible use as a shelter:

    ? Front office personnel should be prepared to remove excess materials, clear the

    counters and set up areas for the office to function as a command post.

    ? All teachers shall be notified to prepare their rooms by securing personal items,

    test materials, and student information.

    ? Computers that will be needed in the command post or by shelter operations

    personnel should be left on, as well as any network equipment. Other computers

    (e.g., those in classrooms and offices) should be unplugged and covered to

    prevent water damage in the event the roof leaks. Plastic garbage bags are

    inexpensive and can serve as covers for the computers and monitors. Computers

    in rooms with lots of windows should be moved to prevent or minimize impact

    damage. Computers on the floor should be placed on tables or desks, and all

    UPS systems should be unplugged.

    ? Classrooms with lots of windows should close their blinds.

    ? If equipped with a generator, have your HPO check on the fuel and oil level, and

    conduct a short test run.

    ? Review your inventory of toilet paper, paper towels, hand soap, and garbage

    bags. Ensure that you have adequate supplies on hand based upon your

    authorized evacuee load.

    ? Check with your cafeteria manager to ensure there is a sufficient inventory of

    foodstuffs, paper plates, napkins and eating utensils.

    ? Test your P.A. system and your portable bullhorn, ensuring that you have spare

    batteries for the bullhorn

    ? Remove all outside equipment (e.g. picnic tables or playground equipment) that

    can become airborne in high winds.


    ? Contact your local garbage removal service to empty school dumpsters if they

    are more than 25% full.


In order to provide the coordination of the district‘s response in shelter operations, as

    well as providing the best support for shelter managers, whenever shelters are opened,

    a district level Incident Command Center (ICC) will be opened at the XXXX Service

    Center. The Incident Command Center is physically located in the warehouse

    administrative offices.

The Incident Command Center will include managers or directors who represent Food

    Service, Maintenance, Warehouse, Schools Police, and School Operations

    (Transportation is located at the County Emergency Operations Center). Each manager

    is expected to designate, and be relieved by, a subordinate capable of handling his or

    her operations during the ICC activation to include those hours when the primary

    director is sleeping. A Director of School Operations shall assist the Area

    Superintendent. The following chart illustrates the District Level ICS Organization:

    Incident Commander





With the exception of the Director of Operations (whose duties are noted below), all ICC

    members shall report as directed by the Incident Commander. Just as shelter managers

    are expected to ensure that they receive sufficient sleep in order to make quality

    decisions, so too shall those personnel assigned to the Incident Command Center.

    Upon arrival they will arrange a sleep schedule with their relief to ensure there is

    coverage until the ICC is deactivated.

The Director of Operations shall serve as the relief for the Area Superintendent in the

    Incident Command Center. However, after shelters have been open for two (2) hours,

    and it is safe to do so, the Director of Operations shall visit all shelters in order to:

    1. Determine if the shelters have opened with sufficient operating staff.

    2. Ensure that the Shelter Incident Commander has scheduled personnel for

    adequate rest periods.

    3. Ensure that assignments have been made pursuant to the Incident Command

    System as outlined in this document.

    4. Determine if the shelter has sufficient operating supplies.


    5. Issue special orders as needed.

Following the review of shelters and their operating efficiencies, the Director shall return

    to the Incident Command Center to provide assistance to the Area Superintendent in

    staffing the Operations desk within the ICC.


Shelter Manager

The shelter manager (principal) shall serve as the Site Commander at their respective

    shelter for the duration of the event or until relieved. The shelter manager is expected to

    organize and direct the operation of the shelter from a command post (usually the front

    office) utilizing the Incident Command System framework. The shelter manager must

    familiarize themselves with the written Agreement between the BOARD and Pinellas

    County regarding emergency shelters (see appendix at end of this section). The shelter

    manager reports directly to the Operations Desk within the District Level Incident

    Command Center.

In order to ensure efficient operations during the emergency, shelter managers must be

    aware of the directive from the Superintendent (September 9, 2004) regarding

    compliance with directives from the Incident Command Center. The memorandum

    reads (in part):

     Therefore, when a directive emanates from the (District Level) Incident

    Command Center it carries the weight of a directive from my office.

    Subordinates may not countermand any directive from the Incident

    Command Center, and any modifications to assignments or hours to be

    worked must be approved by the Incident Command Center. As an example,

    the person representing the Director of Maintenance has the authority to

    order any maintenance employee to perform any duty, regardless of

    whether the employee is usually in that chain of command or not. Likewise,

    a principal from an Area I school is expected to comply with any directive

    issued by my representative from Operations, regardless of whether they

    are in that business chain of command or not.

A critical part of operating the shelter is to ensure that each member of your team is

    prepared to handle problems quickly and professionally. They cannot do this if they are

    fatigued. You should plan on being at the shelter for an extended period of time to

    include the recovery stage after the storm has passed. Keep in mind also that while a

    hurricane or other weather emergency is usually the reason for opening shelters, we

    could also be called upon to open shelters in the event of a terrorist attack or other

    emergency in our community.


Evacuees and shelter staff are under stress and tensions are often high. Human beings

    need sleep, and their ability to make a sound decision is degraded the longer they are

    sleep-deprived. Therefore, the shelter manager shall:

    1. Develop a schedule to ensure that all staff members have an opportunity for

    uninterrupted sleep during the shelter operations. A recommended staffing

    schedule would be that the ―Red Team‖ obtains as much sleep as possible

    from the early evening hours until midnight where they will relieve those who

    have been on duty during these hours. The ―Blue Team‖ members would then

    avail themselves of a minimum of 5 hours sleep. At all times, (Even during the

    quietest times) there shall be a minimum of two assistant shelter managers

    (or one shelter manager and one assistant shelter manager on duty at all


    2. Once operations have commenced, shelter managers shall not release

    subordinates to return home except with the permission of the Incident

    Command Center, or when operations have ceased. Employees who are

    released in order to return home and shower or eat with the expectation that

    they will return immediately could be injured or killed. This creates significant

    liability and workers‘ compensation issues for the district. In addition, there is

    no guarantee that the released employees can even make it back to their

    assignment, causing personnel shortages in critical assignments.

    3. One person shall be appointed to serve as the Acting Shelter Manger during

    the time that the Shelter Manager is sleeping.

    TIP: Find an office away from the crowds, put on a small desk lamp or other

    low light source to serve as a night-light; that way people coming into the area to

    sleep don‘t have to turn on an overhead light.

    TIP: Use a ―post it‖ or scotch-taped paper on the outside of the closed door

    to list who is sleeping in the room; that way you won‘t be awakened by someone

    who is looking for a third party

    4. The approved staffing model for shelter operations is based upon the

    approved number of evacuees for your site and is noted below:

     First 1500 evacuees 3 Administrators

     Each additional 1000 evacuees 1 Administrator

     Traffic direction & general assistance 1 Administrator

    Registration 2 at each shelter +1 for shelters>


    Communications 2 at each shelter (1 per shift)

    Plant Operations Staff 2 at each shelter +1 for

    shelters >3000

    Additional ―support staff‖ 2 at shelters > 4500 evacuees



    Within each shelter, Operations is responsible for all parts of shelter operations and the

    Operations Manger, with the approval of the Incident Commander may appoint persons

    to handle various components of operational plan. For example, responsibilities for

    registration, and traffic assistance could be assigned to one Assistant Operations

    Manager, and a second Assistant Operations Manager could be responsible for

    patrolling and problem solving inside the shelter, as well as communications. The chart

    on the following page illustrates the recommended ICS organizational setup for

    operating a shelter:

     The Operations section (headed by an Assistant Shelter Manager) is responsible for

     the following:

    A. Registration Area

     1. All entrance doors except those directly into the registration area

    should be locked from the outside so that arriving evacuees are

    funneled into the registration area.

     a. Signs should be posted for arriving evacuees

     TIP: Position tables within the registration area to prevent

    evacuees from by-passing the registration area (See Appendix C)

B. Registering incoming evacuees

    1. Using the approved registration form (located at the end of this document) has

    each person (or head of a family) complete the for

    TIP: some schools have also issued the larger ―sticky‖ nametags, (like the

    ones you wear at meetings) to evacuees so that you can address

    them by name during routine interactions.

    2. Each person must be registered and obtain a numbered wristband so that an

    accurate head count can be obtained. The wristband will serve as a meal ticket;

    therefore each person must have one.

    3 During the registration process, those persons serving as registrars should

    direct each person to read the posted rules; additionally, each person must be

    scrutinized to ensure that they do not bring contraband (e.g. alcoholic

    beverages or firearms) into the facility. It is recommended that during the

    initial ―rush‖ of registration, you request that the law enforcement officers

    assigned to the shelter have a presence in the registration area.

    4. Each PCSB employee who does not have a uniform (e.g., food services and

    maintenance staff) shall be required to wear an identification vest while on duty

    at the shelter.

    TIP: Since the paramedics assigned to your shelter will most likely be

     operating off their respective radio frequencies, you will need to know


     how to reach them in an emergency. In lieu of providing them with a

     school portable, try to station them somewhere within the Command

     Post (office) area. Of course they would also sleep in the area

     designated for staff.




    Evacuee Assignments

    Patrol & Problem Solving

    Traffic Assistance

    Food Service


    Plant Operations


C. Assigning evacuees to a specific area.

     1. Some shelters allow evacuees to choose the location where they will settle in.

    Other shelters assign incoming evacuees to specific locations based upon families

    and the ages of their children and they work to keep them from the elderly who

    become disconcerted around small children who are ―wound up.‖ Regardless,

    Operations should develop a plan prior to the arrival of evacuees.

    TIP: In those areas where children and families will be housed, set up a

     TV with a VCR and play an age appropriate video for the children.

     This often succeeds in calming children down and parents will be

     very appreciative.

     2. If the shelter is used as a ―risk‖ shelter, then evacuees shall not be placed into

    gymnasiums, cafeterias or any space with a large roof span.

     a. If the shelter is used as a ―host‖ shelter where severe weather is not a

     factor and the school facility is used only to house incoming evacuees,

     then gymnasium, cafeteria and other areas with large roof spans may be


    b. In the event classrooms must be utilized, the following procedures shall

    be followed:

    1. If time permits, those classrooms most vulnerable to theft and

    damage shall be utilized last. This would include such facilities as

    computer laboratories and/or media centers.

    2. Plant operations staff, under the supervision of an administrator

    shall disconnect any computers and remove them, placing them in

    a secure area (e.g. consolidate all the removed computers into one

    or two classrooms for storage) and cover the computers with a

    plastic tarp or garbage bags.

    3. In order to minimize theft and vandalism when evacuees are

    assigned to a classroom, a volunteer should be identified to ―assist

    shelter staff.‖ (Removing the anonymity of the evacuees in a given

    room may prevent or reduce theft or vandalism). This person will be

    referred to as a ―classroom coordinator‖ for the purpose of

    communicating information or needs, to-and-from shelter staff.

    Evacuees will be asked to communicate through this person.

    Shelter staff must then ensure that they check with this room

    ―coordinator‖ at least once every half hour. Regular checks by

    operations staff will also serve to minimize vandalism and theft.

    D. Patrol and problem solving

    1. Assistant Shelter Managers should be assigned to, and be given

    responsibility for specific areas that they must patrol. For example, one

    assistant shelter manager might be assigned to wings A, B and C while a

    second Assistant Shelter Manager might be assigned wings D, E, and F.


    a. Duties include identifying and dealing with problems early. For

    example, the family that brings an inflatable king size bed which

    takes up too much room must be advised, while setting it up,

    that they can‘t use that bed, instead of waiting until they‘ve had

    it up for several hours.

    b. Smokers must be told where the smoking area is and that they

    cannot smoke in the building.

    c. Those with ―boom boxes‖ should be told that they are expected

    to keep the music down and not force others to listen to ―their


TIP: Some evacuees, particularly the elderly, bring valuables ranging from

    expensive jewelry to large amounts of cash to the shelters. As Assistant

    Shelter Managers walk through the evacuee areas, they should be sensitive

    to anyone who appears to be overly solicitous to the elderly. Look for those who

    appear to be ―chatting up‖ the elderly evacuees, particularly if they are trying

    to learn where they live. Report any suspicions to your law enforcement

     representatives. (Note that you should not become involved in

     ―holding‖ any valuable property evacuees.)

     2. Law Enforcement Officers are assigned to shelters to enforce the

     laws. They cannot enforce shelter rules per se. Playing a boom box

     too loud is not a criminal violation. However, failure to comply with a

     request from shelter operations staff to turn down the music should be

     turned over to law enforcement. In the case of violations:

    a. Initiate enforcement by politely asking the person to comply with

    a specific rule. If they fail to comply, locate a law enforcement

    officer, then explain the issue to them and ask the officer/deputy

    to accompany you as you once again make the request of the

    offender. Usually, having a uniformed law enforcement officer

    standing at your shoulder as you make the request is sufficient

    to accomplish your goal.

    b. In the event the person fails to comply, then (depending on the

    stage of the storm) you should advise the person that as shelter

    manager you are responsible for the entire shelter and if they

    choose not to comply they will be ejected from the shelter.

    (Keep in mind that the officer‘s last choice is to make a physical

    arrest. If they make a physical arrest, they will have to travel to

    the county jail with the suspect, or they will have to guard the

    suspect for the duration of the event, which likely means several

    hours. Therefore, you should use the threat of expulsion from

    the shelter judiciously and you should discuss your plan of

    action with the officer/deputy before you do so.)


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