Severe weather.


A missing resident.

When a disaster or emergency happens, will your co-workers be ready to respond? Senior housing emergency preparedness depends upon not only on co-workers having a cool head during times of crisis, but, more importantly, knowing what to do. Here are a few considerations to help you build a team ready to handle the next emergency.

The Four Phases of Emergency Management

According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), there are 4 stages of emergency management: mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery:

  1. The Mitigation stage involves efforts to reduce the likelihood of emergencies.
  2. During the Preparedness stage in a senior living facility, policies and procedures are established and co-workers are trained on them.
  3. Occurring during or shortly after the emergency, those plans of action are implemented in the Response stage.
  4. Then, during the Recovery stage, regular operations are resumed and restoration begins.

Be Prepared

Your senior housing emergency preparedness plan should cover communications, actions, and supplies.

  • Communications: Examples include:
    • What is the chain of command during an emergency?
    • How do you alert residents of your senior living center to the emergency and inform them of actions they need to take?
    • Who communicates to emergency services or the news?
    • Is the evacuation plan visible for all to see?
  • Actions: Examples include:
    • What steps need to be taken to ensure the safety of residents, staff, and visitors?
    • What needs to be done to reduce damages?
  • Supplies: Examples include:
    • Where is the senior housing emergency preparedness manual (or better yet, quick reference Flash Sheets) located?
    • Where are fire extinguishers or the medical kit kept?

Above all, your senior housing emergency preparedness plan should help keep people safe, reduce property damage, and minimize the financial impact on your senior living facility.


Having the best crisis management plan won’t be much help if your team doesn’t know it well. Training your co-workers in senior housing emergency preparedness should begin with onboarding and be refreshed at least annually and when procedures are updated. Establish a training program with periodic in-service sessions and drills to reinforce your senior housing emergency preparedness procedures. Access to the manual is important, but during a crisis is not the time to read a manual. Quick reference sheets can help reduce response time and refresh co-workers on your procedures during stressful moments.

Learn More about Senior Housing Emergency Preparedness Training and Educational Materials with SeniorLivingU

If not already established, employers should consider year-round training programs specifically curated for their communities. Our services help communities match their needs to the right training materials. SeniorLivingU has an extensive library of resources for all retirement community teams.

Located in Hershey, PA, SeniorLivingU serves as an education provider and support system for organizations and individuals within the senior living industry. Our website provides a full e-commerce storefront for teams to easily purchase retirement community training, senior living management degree programs, and other general resources. Management training options are available for executives interested in a senior living management certificate. Our FAQ page features helpful tips on how to purchase materials and more information about our assisted living education. Many of our training programs are available through our Anytime Online Learning Portal, which makes training available 24/7 for you and your staff. To learn more about SeniorLivingU, the services we provide, and how we can provide the best resources for your organization, contact us today. We look forward to helping your team receive quality senior living industry training, including senior housing emergency preparedness training, assisted living training, caregiver training, senior living management degree programs, and general senior living resources.