When Joseph Donchess speaks about emergency preparedness, providers listen. That’s because as the head of the Louisiana Nursing Home Association, he knows a thing or two about disasters.

Donchess, the executive director of the LNHA, recently shared his experiences from Hurricane Katrina with some 300 nursing home and assisted living operators at a conference at the University of Maryland. Long-term care providers need to be ready or all possible emergencies, he said.

Donchess highlighted several steps that facilities need to take to prepare for a disaster. They should make sure that a sufficient number of staff members would be available to help during a disaster even when their own families are facing the same crisis. They also must identify emergency shelter sites and have a transportation plan in place.