Developing an Emergency Management Manual
1.3b Resilient Communities:
Multi-Hazard Risk / Vulnerability
Developing an Emergency Management Manual
Disaster can strike anywhere, anytime. An organization may have time to plan a coordinated response in advance, or the emergency may come without warning. Either way, an organization which has a clear, well-rehearsed emergency plan will better manage a more coordinated, effective response.

Description + function

An effective emergency plan prepares the entire organization for an emergency, promoting three core capabilities:

  • Coordination. The organization works in a unified way across departments and with organizations and people outside.
  • Communication. Staff and leadership communicate efficiently throughout a disaster.
  • Information sharing. Vital updates reach staff, residents, leadership and outside people quickly.

Enterprise Community Partners’ Ready to Respond: Disaster Staffing Toolkit is a user-friendly, ready-made collection of tools to help housing organizations build comprehensive disaster plans.

Strategy into action

Assess your vulnerabilities and risks.

Analyze the hazards your buildings are vulnerable to. (See: Getting Started: Identify your hazard exposure, and Assess your risks).

Develop an emergency plan.

Assign an emergency preparedness coordinator (EPC) to oversee the development of an emergency plan. The EPC will work with senior leadership to assign staff to emergency response roles, customize preparedness materials and tasks, coordinate trainings and implement revisions to the plan.

An emergency plan should consider:

Task Example

Building protection.
Minimize damage and ensure quick return to service.

Equipment inventory and action plans, protecting IT and telecommunications infrastructure, shut-down and re-open protocols, managing vender relationships.

Resident engagement.
Support the safety, preparedness and recovery of residents.
Emergency kits and go-bags, up-to-date information on residents, preparedness surveys, updated flyer templates, evacuation tracking sheets.

Business continuity.
Maintain key business operations throughout a disaster.

Hard-copy record backups, insurance information, financial preparedness plan, staff work policies, emergency-related expense tracking sheets.

Children, seniors, those with disabilities and other residents with special needs may need additional support, particularly during extreme heat or cold. Maintain detailed records about residents’ medications and medical or mobility equipment for residents who may need extra assistance in case of an emergency.

Operations + maintenance


Organizations should host training exercises to test their emergency plan and practice communication and coordination among staff members. Trainings attended by senior leadership, resident leaders and all staff involved in emergency planning should be held at least once a year.

Trainings may include a simulated emergency event, emphasizing the importance of emergency planning and allowing staff to practice their roles. The training facilitator should document training activities in a post-training report asking for feedback for what could be improved.

Image: FEMA / Hans Pennink

Estimated cost

  1. $
  2. $$
  3. $$$
  4. $$$$



Case Study:
Developing an Emergency Plan for a Supportive Housing Organization

Case StudyDeveloping an Emergency Plan for a Supportive Housing Organization


Bailey House is a supportive housing organization providing services for the homeless and people living with HIV/AIDS. Located in New York’s Greenwich Village at 180 Christopher St., the facility is in the AE flood zone within the 100-year floodplain.

The building had experienced flooding before, and had an evacuation procedure and emergency supplies in place. But the plan did not adequately prepare the Bailey House for Superstorm Sandy.


After Sandy, Bailey House created an emergency plan based on the Incident Command System, a federally-recognized emergency management framework.

Bailey House divides its housing section into two areas. Facility Management combines resident engagement and building protection. Client Services maintains the social services Bailey House provides.

The emergency plan assigns roles to staff members and works on two levels, implementing disaster preparedness measures while setting up policies and procedures to be used during an actual disaster.


To create a custom-tailored emergency plan, Bailey House hired a private consultant at a fee of approximately $2,500.

Photos: Bailey House.
180 Christopher St.
New York, NY
45 Units
Back to top