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Pre-planning elements


Prior to opening a shelter, those involved in emergency management and shelter planning should conduct a needs assessment, resource assessment, and gap analysis.

1. Needs assessment

During the needs assessment, it is important to:

  • determine the population at risk
  • identify functional and access needs
  • evaluate existing plans to support needs

For more information on identifying the population at risk, please visit the Planning for the Diverse Needs of Communities knowledge base topic.

2. Resource assessment

In order to complete a resource assessment, those involved in emergency management and shelter planning should:

  • have resources on hand, or know how to obtain them
  • include a process for locating, purchasing, and storing supplies and equipment
  • establish provider agreement, mutual-aid agreements, and memorandums of understanding

Sample resource lists based on a 100-person shelter open for one week:

wheelchairs and crutches

Include organizational representatives during the pre-planning process.

  • Organizational resources including contact information for Massachusetts agencies related to personal assistance services (PAS) and Massachusetts Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD) partner organizations Organizational Resources

3. Gap analysis

Once the needs assessment and resource assessment are complete, identify shortfalls for potential resource requests as part of the gap analysis. Finally, determine a process for requesting these resources.

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