Private Organization Accreditation

Consumer Credit Counseling Service of the Savannah Area's mission is to provide the best non-profit community service, dedicated to delivering professional and confidential counseling, debt management, housing counseling and consumer education to all segments of the community regardless of ability to pay.


Holy Family Institute

Sister Linda Yankoski, President/CEO

The Council On Accreditation provides all stakeholders involved in the delivery of social services the assurance that the organization is credible, effective, and is committed to quality improvement. The COA process is an important tool for anyone involved in leading an organization to establish best practices and maintaining and updating these practices over time.
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The agency’s administrative and service environments contribute to agency effectiveness and are respectful, safe, and accessible.

PA-ASE 7: Emergency Response Preparedness

The agency plans for and coordinates emergency response preparedness.

Interpretation: The network management entity is expected to plan for, and coordinate emergency preparedness across the network.

Table of Evidence

Self-Study Evidence On-Site Evidence On-Site Activities
    County/Municipality Administered Agency, State Administered Agency (Central Office), or other Public Entity 
    • Agency emergency response plan (PA-ASE 7.01, PA-ASE 7.03)
    • Additional facility-specific emergency plans
    • Emergency preparedness training curricula (PA-ASE 7.03, PA-ASE 7.04)
    State Administered Agency (Regional Office)
    • Regional emergency response plan (PA-ASE 7.01, PA-ASE 7.03)
    • Additional facilities-specific emergency plans
    All Agencies
    • Training files, database, or personnel/client files that demonstrate attendance at emergency response training for:
      1. Staff (PA-ASE 7.04)
      2. Residents in residential settings, if applicable (PA-ASE 7.03)
    • Fire drill logs (PA-ASE 7.05)
    All Agencies
    • Interview:
      1. Agency leadership
      2. Relevant personnel
    • Observe facility
    • Network interview:
      1. Network head
      2. Network emergency response coordinator

  • FP
    PA-ASE 7.01

    The agency develops an emergency response plan that addresses:

    1. coordination with appropriate local, state, and federal governmental authorities;
    2. coordination with emergency responders;
    3. coordination and communication with service recipients;
    4. evacuation of persons with mobility challenges and other special needs;
    5. arrangements for the provision of medications for persons who require them to remain healthy, when applicable;
    6. accounting for the whereabouts of staff and service recipients;
    7. options for relocating service recipients; and
    8. situations involving the threat of harm or violence, or actual harm or violence.

    Interpretation: Emergency response planning must address:

    1. medical emergencies such as accidents, illlness, and death;
    2. facility and security-related emergencies such as fire, hostage situations, bomb threats, unlawful intrusion, physical assault, and other life-threatening situations; and
    3. natural disasters such as hurricanes, earthquakes, etc.

    Interpretation: In regards to element (e), persons who may require medications in order to remain healthy include individuals with psychiatric conditions, individuals taking opioid treatment medications, individuals with chronic conditions such as asthma or diabetes, and older adults. 

    Interpretation: When an agency provides services remotely using technology, emergency response planning must address the agency’s capacity to respond to emergency and crisis situations. 

  • FP
    PA-ASE 7.02

    The agency is prepared to treat injuries and respond to medical emergencies by:

    1. maintaining a readily available communication device, poison control information, and first aid supplies and manuals at all program sites;
    2. consulting with a health professional, as necessary, to develop procedures for such situations; and
    3. maintaining emergency contact information for personnel and service recipients.

    Interpretation: When conducting off-grounds outdoor activities such as overnight camping, the standard requires first-aid supplies, emergency response kits, and other emergency supplies and medications needed by participants to be under the control of the senior trip leader or other designated group leader at all times.

  • PA-ASE 7.03

    The emergency response plan includes arrangements for:

    1. temporary work site(s) in the event of facility closure;
    2. communicating with agency leadership, personnel, service recipients, the public, and the media; and
    3. notifying parents or legal guardians, as appropriate.

    Interpretation: To ensure preparedness in the event of an emergency, communication with persons served in residential settings should include training persons served about the agency’s emergency response plan, including evacuation procedures, and conducting emergency preparedness drills related to different types of emergencies identified in PA-ASE 7.01.

    Interpretation: State agency regional offices should maintain separate emergency response plans that build off of the statewide plan but contain specific provisions for regional relocation options and communications within the regional management structure.

  • FP
    PA-ASE 7.04

    All personnel receive ongoing training on:

    1. assessing risk and safety; and
    2. implementing the agency’s emergency response plan and procedures.

    Interpretation: All staff should receive basic training on the agency’s health and safety procedures and understand how to respond to emergency situations, as appropriate to their position and the services provided. For example, staff could receive “gatekeeper training” on how to recognize, interpret, and respond to signs of suicide risk, and/or Mental Health First Aid training for recognizing and responding to signs of a mental health crisis.

  • FP
    PA-ASE 7.05

    Fire drills are conducted according to legal requirements, and held at least:

    1. during periods of both activity and rest, as appropriate to the program or service;
    2. once a month for every shift in Early Childhood Education (PA-ECE) and Out-of-School Time (OST) settings: 
    3. once a quarter for every shift in residential or daytime group care settings; and/or
    4. annually for other services and at administrative offices.


    • Added Interpretation - 04/20/18

    Interpretation: Residential programs for adults living independently in apartments, single-room-occupancy, or other independent living arrangements are not expected to conduct fire drills during evening and/or overnight shifts where staff do not have a continuous presence onsite. Such programs must still conduct fire drills at each program site during business hours.

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