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Emergency Preparedness: Important Steps for Preparation

LeadingAge Ohio hosted the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) for an emergency preparedness meeting on October 22. ODH reviewed all emergency preparedness (EP) tags and provided examples of common citations within each area. 

The emergency plan needs to be updated annually, and the update process should be documented. Documentation should include what changes were needed based on the review. The highest risk areas identified within the hazardous vulnerability assessment should be the main focus of training. Your local emergency management agency (EMA) will have historical data on threats. Test the plan by having either a full-scale exercise and a drill or having two full-scale exercises. 

ODH noted that working with a local EMA may be challenging. While working with specific community entities is not required, ODH recommends documenting attempts at trying to work with local coalitions/EMA’s. If the facility conducts its own full-scale drill then the facility’s policies and procedures should be implemented and an after action report conducted. 

ODH recommends looking at E13 to see if policies and procedures are lacking requirements, e.g. how volunteers will be utilized and trained and tracking of staff and residents. The 1135 waiver must reflect the facility’s understanding of what it is, how it is declared, and who to contact. The communication section should have phone numbers for the main office such as the local EMA’s office number and not the name of the current EMA director as this person may change. Ensure that the plan documents how all staff, volunteers, families, and the medical director will be contacted. Include the primary and secondary route such as landline and the use of cell phones. 

LeadingAge has provided numerous emergency preparedness templates and guides. These toolkits can be found at: Emergency Preparedness Regulation Dashboard

The top 10 cited E-tags are: 


LeadingAge Ohio meets quarterly with ODH and other stakeholders on emergency preparedness issues to share best practices and recent emergency experiences, as learning opportunities. Members are welcome and encouraged to attend these meetings. To learn more, contact Stephanie DeWees, Quality & Regulatory Specialist for Long Term Care at

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Our national partner, LeadingAge, is an association of 6,000 not-for-profit organizations dedicated to expanding the world of possibilities for aging. Together, we advance policies, promote practices and conduct research that support, enable and empower people to live fully as they age.