Covenant Shores Community wins award for disaster planning

Covenant Shores Retirement Community received the 2009 Excellence in Innovation Award for its disaster plan by the King County Healthcare Coalition on April 27. Receiving the award was residential living administrator Priscilla Millerand and Covenant Shores resident Tom Wiegert, who serves as one of the campus lead commanders.

Recognized for its significant contributions in furthering emergency preparedness efforts within our community, the coalition commended Covenant Shores with these words: “The preparedness work your facility has accomplished is likely to serve as a regional model for other multi-resident facilities and will positively impact our region’s long-term care services in the event of any emergency. Not only have your planning efforts taken an active role in preparing your residents for a disaster, but it’s also lent a tremendous sense of empowerment and innovation to the process.”

Covenant Shores’ regular fire and earthquake drills, debriefings and identifying areas for improvement have put the retirement community in the lead for disaster planning in the area.

Announcement of the award immediately spurred other organizations into contacting the campus for assistance. In addition, the disaster plan is being used as a model by the Mercer Island Emergency Management Office, as they organize the senior housing facilities on the Island. Residents and staff have partnered together on emergency preparedness strategic planning, training and practice. The exercises are a valuable tool for practicing, testing and identifying areas of need before a disaster occurs. Evaluation of these exercises following the emergency drills not only identifies accomplishments, but helps to shape guidance on areas of improvement that will benefit future planning and training efforts. Covenant Shores residents have been instrumental in developing the disaster plan and were responsible for defining resident and staff roles and responsibilities as well as implementing organizational objectives for drills.

The disaster plan was also lauded by the Mercer Island Fire Department for serving as a community role model in emergency preparedness.

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