WRITING A DISASTER PLAN
BY RICH BERENDSON, MAHC BOARD DIRECTOR

Every cooperative, regardless of its size, should have an emergency disaster plan which addresses that property’s needs. It is the road map by which the membership responds to the crisis, both during and after the specific event. The Board of Directors responsibility is two-fold. First, to protect the lives of the occupants, and secondly, to protect the investment of the membership.

The time to plan for any type of disaster is not after it has occurred, but in anticipation of an
occurrence at some future date. It is written with the intention that it will never be implemented.
However, the planning will sensitize the participants to address the issues that can be anticipated
when it is implemented.

Failure to plan for a disaster is a plan to fail when disaster strikes causing further anxiety and
grief for those affected by the calamity.

As part of the emergency plan, a Cooperative Emergency Management Team should be
created by the Board of Directors and meet on an ongoing basis, at least once each quarter, for the purpose of reviewing the Cooperative’s Emergency Disaster Plan.

Successful emergency plans depend on maintaining extensive and accurate records about the
property and its members. Blueprints and maps of the property should clearly show the
locations of mechanical equipment, utility and water shut offs, power mains, stairwells, stand pipes, and that all members are accounted for during the crisis, as well as, records
of vacant units. You will also need a list of members that have disabilities. Keeping in mind
disabled members may need assistance to evacuate.

Just some of the things the plan should cover are:
• Responding to the Emergency
• Alerting the Members
• Alerting the Insurance Company
• Alerting any External Resources

SO WHERE DO YOU BEGIN?
Attend the Writing A Disaster Plan class at our Annual Conference in Las Vegas. There
we will go over and review a plan developed for Cumberland Green Cooperative. A sample of the plan will be handed out to members.