What is a Disaster Preparation Plan?

A disaster preparation plan is a plan for handling, staying safe in, and ultimately surviving a disaster. This plan can cover what an individual or group would do if faced with a natural disaster, such as a hurricane or earthquake. However, disasters can also include those that are caused by man, such as chemical contamination or even attacks by terrorists. Any disaster preparation plan should cover these types of disasters as well.

When creating a disaster preparation plan, there are many things to consider and include. A person, group, or family should decide what to do first in a disaster. This means deciding where to go and what to do as the emergency situation is occurring. For example, a family’s plan could include running to the storm cellar until the tornado has passed.

Some types of disasters would require a person to evacuate his home, work, or school. A good disaster preparation plan should include details about how to evacuate in a safe and orderly manner, where to go, and how to get there. It should also include details concerning what each person would need to take when evacuating. For example, it may be a good idea to have a certain amount of cash, extra prescription medications, medical cards, and ID in a secure location and ready to grab at a moment’s notice.

Since family members could be scattered around town when a disaster strikes, it is also highly recommended to detail where the family should meet if evacuation becomes necessary. Keep in mind that the preferred meeting place could be blocked off or inaccessible during and after a disaster. For this reason, it’s a good idea to decide on several potential meeting places, each one a little further from home. If one is inaccessible, each family member will know to move on and try the next on the list.

It’s also wise to choose an out–of-state contact for all local family members. Having a single point of contact who is removed from the immediate area and out of the danger zone can provide a valuable way to reconnect and get updates about loved ones. Additionally, each family member should have a list of emergency numbers to call if disaster strikes. Memorizing at least a couple of them is better than relying on sheets of paper or electronic devices that can be lost or damaged.

In some cases, evacuation isn’t immediately possible or desirable following a disaster. To plan for this, it’s also wise to make a list of provisions needed to stay in one's home or place of business for an extended period of time. This may mean planning to store a certain amount of non-perishable food, matches, fuel, medications, and water. It’s also wise to include a first aid kit, battery-powered radio, and disposable cell phone in the disaster preparation plan.


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