May 10, 2000 Library Presentation

Emergency Planning for Special Needs Facilities

Mitch Cooper

Program Director, Community Emergency Planning
Texas Department of Health
Division of Emergency Preparedness


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About Mitch Cooper

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Texas Regulatory Information


EIIP Virtual Online Library Presentation
Wednesday - May 10, 2000 - 12:00 Noon EDT

Emergency Planning for Special Needs Facilities

Mitch Cooper
Program Director
Texas Department of Health

Moderator: Amy Sebring
EIIP Technical Projects Coordinator

The May 10 Virtual Library proudly presented Mitch Cooper from the State of Texas Department of Health. Formerly with the Texas Division of Emergency Management, Mitch currently works in the Emergency Preparedness Division and Program Director for Community Emergency Planning. Part of his work is in "Emergency Planning for Special Needs Facilities."

Cooper explained how two major projects were conducted involving Cameron and Wharton Counties in his state. As result of coalitions and many meetings over a period of months, it became painfully obvious there was a tremendous weakness in special needs facility planning and concurrent disconnects between facility management and local emergency management. Cooper worked with planners from DEM, DHS and Texas MHMR to develop planning document for special needs facilities. State regulations that govern special needs facility planning have been changed also. Training and planning guidance have been developed to assist special needs facilities with the planning process; local emergency management is now a vital part of the planning requirements.


Program Director, Community Emergency Planning
Texas Department of Health
Division of Emergency Preparedness

Mitch Cooper is the Program Director for Community Emergency Planning in the Texas Department of Health. In this capacity, Mr. Cooper performs advanced consultative and technical assistance to Texas cities and counties in the development of integrated health and medical response plans. Mr. Cooper also conducts extensive training in plan development and basic emergency management and recently completed community emergency planning pilot projects in Cameron and Wharton Counties. Participants included nursing homes, assisted living facilities, retirements homes, MHMR facilities and other health and medical stakeholders in the community. During actual disasters, Mr. Cooper serves as an advisor to the Director of the Division of Emergency Preparedness and represents the Division on the Governor's Emergency management Council and State Emergency Response Team.

Prior to working at the health department, Mr. Cooper was a State/Exercise Training Officer for the Governor's Division of Emergency Management (DEM). In this capacity, he conducted needs assessments, developed plans of instruction, instructional manuals, evaluation methodology and exercises plans. Mr. Cooper conducted numerous emergency management training classes throughout the state of Texas. During his tenure at DEM, Mr. Cooper was accepted into and completed the FEMA Master Trainer Program and was the first State Training Officer to receive a Master Trainer Certificate. Mr. Cooper also represented the State of Texas to FEMA Region VI and the Department of Defense on matters concerning statewide terrorism training.

Mr. Cooper's previous experience includes a 22-year career in the United States Air Force Intelligence Command. Mr. Cooper was trained in counter intelligence and counter terrorism and flew over 300 combat missions as an intelligence collection operator in Viet Nam and Germany. Other assignments included Italy, Japan, Okinawa, Texas and the National Security Agency at Fort Meade, Md. Using instructional systems design methodology, Mr. Cooper developed training courses for intelligence collection operators and was the Director of Training at two of the units to which he was assigned. For his efforts, Mr. Cooper received the United States Air Force Master Instructor Certification.

Mr. Cooper earned a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Texas in 1988. He also holds a Bachelor of Science degree in History and Government from the University of Maryland (1985) and an Associate of Applied Science degree in Instructor Technology from the Community College of the Air force (1980).

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H&SC refers to the Texas Health and Safety Code; TAC refers to the Texas Administrative Code. In the TAC cites, see Subchapters on Facility Construction/Safety Operations for current requirements for emergency planning.

Nursing Homes - H&SC Chapter 242, 40 TAC Chapter 19

Assisted Living - H&SC Chapter 247, 40 TAC Chapter 92

Individual MR facilities - H&SC Chapter 252, 40 TAC Chapter 90

The revised language to be adopted is as follows:

The facility must have a written emergency preparedness and response plan. Procedures to be followed in an internal or external disaster should be attached to the plan. The plan must address, at a minimum, the eight core functions of emergency management which are: direction and control, warning (how the facility will be notified of emergencies and who they will notify), communication (with whom and by what mechanism), sheltering arrangements, evacuation (destinations, routes), transportation, health and medical needs and resource management (supplies, staffing, emergency equipment, records). Plans should address those natural, technological and man-made emergencies that could affect the facility and must be coordinated with the local emergency management coordinator. Information about the local emergency management coordinator may be obtained from the office of the local mayor or county judge.


Emergency generators, if required or provided, must be maintained in operating condition at all times. These must be inspected and run, under load, for at least 30 minutes each week. A signed or initialed record or log must be kept on file by the facility. The log should document maintenance performed, time taken to transfer load and length of run times. The condition and proper operation of the emergency egress lighting should also be checked at this time.

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