December 2006


Emergency & Disaster Planning
December 2006

It has been well more than a year since Hurricane Katrina destroyed waterfront towns and inflicted a devastating blow on New Orleans, one of the country’s most beautiful and culturally rich cities. Katrina--the nation’s worst natural disaster, according to many measures--scattered families and communities, ruined homes and tore apart the infrastructure of everyday life, including work, retail, utilities and, of course, schools.

Katrina brought disaster planning to the forefront of the nation’s attention. Indeed, more limited disasters than Katrina can have just as devastating an impact on those who experience them. The good news is that preparation can help in preventing and recovering from some effects. Recognizing these realities, School Foodservice & Nutrition is presenting its special, new issue on disaster planning.

First, review the lessons of Hurricane Katrina in “The Long Road Back to Normal.” Children who were displaced or left homeless by Katrina had basic needs--food, familiarity, normalcy--and a hot meal from the school cafeteria could go a long way in addressing these nutritional and emotional needs. In this article, school nutrition professionals and other district officials describing the steps they took--and continue to take--to care for their district’s children.

Adding up the costs left in the wake of an emergency--whether from a natural disaster, an accident or a deliberate act of destruction--can be a terrible stress not only for the community, but also on your school nutrition operation. You may sustain the somewhat obvious costs of lost food, equipment and revenue. But there might be other costs you hadn’t foreseen. How much money could you lose? And where will the money come from to recover? In “When it Rains, it Pours,” school nutrition operators share financial lessons they learned from previous disasters.

But disaster recovery is not only for financial managers. Everyone in your school nutrition operation has a role to play in that recovery—and in providing aid to the community. Schools often function as shelters, and school nutrition professionals have earned a reputation for providing safe, nutritious meals in high volume under daunting circumstances, often at personal cost. But what happens when disaster strikes your school nutrition operation? “The Survivor’s Guide to Cafeteria Catastrophe” provides practical tips from emergency professionals for coping with power outages, fires, floods or wind damage, so that you can better serve others.

How have other districts weathered catastrophes? How can you prepare financially? What can you do to keep your operation running—and taking care of children’s needs—during and after an emergency? This month, find the answers to these questions and more in SF&N.

december coverThe Long Road Back to Normal lock
Months after Hurricane Katrina’s memorable wrath, school nutrition professionals reflect on the slow process of picking up the pieces.

When It Rains, It Pours lock
Many school nutrition operations weather significant financial blows in the wake of a natural disaster or other emergency. How can preparation help offset some of the damage to the bottom line?

The Survivor's Guide to Cafeteria Catastrophe! lock
Keep these guidelines on hand in case of fire, power failure, flood, wind damage or more.




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