Shelter and Mass Care
Gaston County
Emergency Operations Plan

Coordinating Agencies: American Red Cross
  Department of Social Services
Cooperating Agencies: Emergency Management
  Law Enforcement
  Emergency Medical Services
  Health Department
  Others as required or requested

This annex provides for the protection of the population from the effects of hazards through the identification of shelters and provision of mass care and social services in shelters.
  A. Situation
    1. Based upon the county's hazard analysis, there are several emergencies for which shelters may be required including severe storms, tornadoes, floods, hazardous material accidents, and fires.
    2. The Gaston County Office of Emergency Management and the American Red Cross have identified and surveyed potential shelters in the county and have determined which would be appropriate to use during disasters. The Gaston County Office of Emergency Management maintains a list of potential shelter sites.
  B. Assumptions
    1. Sufficient in-county sheltering exists to meet the needs of an evacuation during emergencies or disaster.
    2. For out-of-county evacuation, sufficient shelter capacity exists and shelter locations can be arranged and made available.
    3. A high percentage of evacuees will seek shelter with friends or relatives rather than go to public shelter.
    4. Within the National Response Framework, shelter and mass care is an Emergency Support Function (ESF-6) and incorporates mass care, emergency assistance, disaster housing and human services.
  A. The North Carolina Department of Human Resources through the NC Division of Social Services (NCDSS) and the Gaston County Department of Social Services (County DSS) is responsible for shelter and mass care matters. The American Red Cross (ARC) through written agreement with the State of North Carolina and the Gaston County Office of Emergency Management under NC General Statute 166A-9 will provide shelter and mass care to the general population. The Department of Human Resources will assure that shelter care is made available to complement American Red Cross services, and in those situations in which American Red Cross cannot provide shelter and mass care.
  B. The Department of Human Resources (DHR) will support county social services efforts, arrange for shelters at DHR institutions, and transfer social services personnel to the affected area as needed. DHR will work in conjunction with the American Red Cross, Salvation Army and other volunteer organizations to provide care for disaster victims.
  C. The Gaston County Emergency Management Administrator and the American Red Cross will coordinate shelter locations. Operations will mutually be supported with shared personnel and support services of American Red Cross and Gaston County Department of Social Services whenever possible.
  D. Public and private providers of institutional care (medical and residential) remain responsible for having shelter plans, which are approved by Gaston County Social Services and the Emergency Management Office, for continued care of their clientele when in shelters.
  E. The Gaston County Director of Social Services is responsible to ensure sheltering of populations with special needs that make them ineligible to reside in general population shelters as prescribed by the American Red Cross.
  F. The Gaston County Health Director is responsible for ensuring nursing coverage is identified for local shelters as needed.
  A. The Director of Social Services will coordinate with American Red Cross on shelter/mass care operations for the County.
  B. The American Red Cross will direct and control ARC shelter/mass care operations in conjunction with Gaston County Social Services.
  C. Assumption of financial responsibility dictates direction and control.

The line of succession for shelter and mass care is:
  A. Director of American Red Cross
  B. Director of the Gaston County Social Services
  C. Emergency Management Administrator
Attachment 1
Special Needs Sheltering and Care

This annex provides for the protection of the special needs groups in the general population from the effects of hazards through the identification of special needs shelters. Gaston County will attempt within all means possible to accommodate the provisions of the American with Disability Acts.

  A. Situation
    1. Gaston County has within the general population, special needs individuals and special needs groups that will require individual and/or special assistance in the event evacuation is required.
    2. Some persons with special needs may, with minimal assistance, be able to function in a mass care shelter, while those persons with special health needs requiring constant care and/or life support systems will require a special needs shelter or a medical facility.
  B. Assumptions
    1. Any person with special needs for whose care can be provided by that person or by family members should be accepted in the shelter serving his family and his community.
    2. Sheltering for special needs will be unique to the county and the special needs shelter may be in a separate designated area of a building housing a mass care shelter or in a separate facility depending on the resources available in the county.
    3. Private and government operated residential facilities caring for special needs groups, such as nursing homes, rest homes, group homes for the mentally ill or developmentally disabled, etc., are responsible for their clients continual care during and after the time an evacuation is authorized to include financial responsibility.
    4. Private and government operated facilities caring for special needs groups for less than 24 hours, such as day care, pre-school, and day health, are responsible for their clients continual care during and after an evacuation is authorized until or unless the client is released to a parent or a responsible adult.
  A. Sheltering for special needs populations will be accomplished through the coordinated efforts of private facilities, governmental agencies, and county-to-county mutual aid agreements.
  B. The Department of Human Resources (DHR) has lead responsibility for sheltering and mass care in North Carolina.  Within DHR, the Division of Social Services (DSS), and Gaston County Department of Social Services (County DSS) are designated as the lead agencies to ensure that shelter care is provided for special needs groups. This will involve team planning for special needs shelters with public agencies, private facilities, and the medical profession.
  C. The local Emergency Management Administrator will assist County DSS and other local agencies with issues related to special needs sheltering, including coordination of operation of special needs shelters when a publicly operated special needs shelter is necessary.
  D. Divisions under the Department of Human Resources that operate residential facilities are required to have current plans in place for the evacuation and sheltering of special needs populations. Any (residential) facility for local groups must have prior approval of DHR.
  E. Private facilities will be responsible for the evacuation and sheltering of their patients, to include transport to and from shelters.
  F. Sheltering needs of special needs groups may be met in the county, if an appropriate facility is available; in adjoining counties with prior approval from DHR in certain DHR state operated facilities; or, in shelters administered by county departments of social services.
  G. The Gaston County Health Department is responsible for staffing special needs shelters when activated.
  A. The Director of Social Services will direct and control special needs shelter operations for the public.
  B. Private facilities will be responsible for direction and control of their shelters, or if housed in government-provided space for their clients subject to overall direction and control of the public shelter operator.
  C. Department of Human Resources will provide direction and control for agency facilities.

The line of succession for special needs shelter and care is:

  A. Gaston County Social Services Director
  B. Gaston County Health Department Director
  C. Gaston County Emergency Management Administrator

Attachment 2
Shelter Manager Checklist

Shelter Manager's Responsibilities
Assignment Information

  Obtain the following information:
Nature of the Disaster
Shelter assignment location
Estimated shelter population
Facility contact person
Contact person/supervisor at the chapter/department/agency
What other staff are being recruited:
 Shift supervisor(s)
 Registration (click here for ARC Form 5972)
 Dormitory management
 Disaster Health Services
 Disaster Mental Health Services
 Staff recruitment and placement
Notify your family and supervisor.
Review chapter/department/agency disaster response plan.
Pack personal items: clothes, toilet items, medications, blanket, phone numbers, etc.
Pick up shelter manager's kit.
Initial Actions
Establish contact with facility representatives and activate the building when ready. IF clients are waiting the facility may have to be partially activated immediately.
Using the Statement of Agreement and Facility Survey, if they already exist, meet the facility representative for a pre-occupancy inspection. Negotiate and sign a Facility Agreement. Conduct pre-occupancy inspection using Self-Inspection Worksheet Off-premises Liability Checklist, and assess the general condition of the facility, citing pre-existing damage.
Establish and maintain contact with the Red Cross /department/agency supervisory unit or the Emergency Operations Center.
Survey and lay out the space plan for the shelter.
Organize and brief staff. Assign staff to perform the following tasks:
 Dormitory Management
 Disaster Health Services
 Disaster Mental Health Services
 Staff Recruitment and Placement
 Other client services
 Public information (coordinated with the EOC Public Information Officer)
 Communications (if phones are out) (i.e. Amateur Radio Emergency Services)
Project staffing and other support requirements for the next 48 hours. Notify the chapter/department/agency.
Order start-up supplies and equipment and request any support needed such as security, Amateur Radio operators, Public Information or Disaster Health Services personnel.
Coordinate recruitment of additional personnel. Encourage the involvement of shelter residents as workers.
Assess feeding options and discuss recommended solution with supervisor. Meet with Food Services supervisor.
Establish a shelter log reporting process.
Put up shelter identification both inside and out.
Ensure that the Disaster Welfare Inquiry and Family Service copies of shelter registration forms are forwarded to headquarters.

Ongoing Actions

Maintain regular communications with the shelter coordinator or supervisor. Provide Shelter Daily Report information, and discuss supply needs, problems and plans.
Establish and meet regularly with the shelter advisory committee, and ensure that the physical and mental needs of clients are being met. Develop plans to meet these needs and request assistance if necessary.
Ensure that shelter residents are receiving updated information about the disaster, the recovery process, and all of the resources available to them.
Forward a copy of new registrations to Disaster Welfare Inquiry and Family Service units daily.
Establish standard shift schedules for staff, usually for 9 to 13 hours.
Conduct staff meetings. Include updates on disaster response and shelter operations, directions and advice from disaster headquarters, and status of problems and resolutions. Identify needs for clients, staff, supplies, and systems. Address rumors.
Monitor disaster response efforts, and plan for the closing of the shelter.
Ensure that the proper systems are in place to track expenditures, bills and invoices, materials, and local volunteer records.
Develop plans for maintaining the shelter until closing is possible, including staffing and supply needs.
Routinely inspect the safety and sanitation of the facility, including the kitchen, dormitories, bathrooms, exterior and registration area and ensure that health standards and clients' needs are being met.
Meet regularly with the facility representative to share concerns and resolve potential problems.
Work with the clients and feeding supervisor to ensure the appropriate menus are being planned that reflect the preferences of the shelter population.

Closing Actions

Coordinate plans to close the shelter with your supervisor and community well in advance of the actual closing.
Coordinate with Family Service to ensure timely and appropriate placement of all remaining shelter occupants.
Communicate to any remaining shelter residents the plan for closing the shelter. Encourage individuals who have not already contacted Family Service to do so.
Consult with your supervisor about the disposition of all Red Cross and USDA food supplies.
Ensure Logistics staff take the following actions:

Complete the inventory of all supplies owned by the facility that were used in the shelter, and forward this to your supervisor.
Return all rented or borrowed equipment to owners. Send your supervisor signed receipts for such equipment.

Arrange for the cleaning of the facility and have it returned to the pre-occupancy condition or as close to the pre-occupancy condition as possible.

Return all Red Cross supplies and equipment to the chapter/department/agency or central storage facility. Submit to your supervisor a list of items returned.

Forward all pending financial commitments to the supervisor for payment. Ask suppliers to send final bills to your supervisor.
Consult with the supervisor about transfer or release of staff.
Remove all Red Cross / DSS ID materials from the facility.
Prepare a thank-you list of other voluntary organizations, vendors, and staff to be thanked or recognized.
Forward all Mass Care shelter files to the chapter/department/agency.