Disaster planning is preparation for possible disasters, such as forest fires, terrorist attacks, and hurricanes. By being prepared for a disaster before it happens, it is possible to react faster and get out of a dangerous situation. Knowing what to do and where to go in an emergency could mean the difference between life and death.
Disaster planning requires having a plan and having supplies. Building a disaster kit is one of the most important parts of disaster planning. A kit should contain enough supplies for the entire family for at least three days. A family should include one gallon of water per day for each member of the family and non-perishable food. First aid supplies, personal hygiene products, cash or travelers checks, and a cell phone are also necessities.
The second part of disaster planning is to have a plan for what to do in the case of an emergency. Families should have an agreed upon meeting point in case they are separated. There should be an out-of-town contact designated as someone to call in case of an emergency. Everyone in the family should have that phone number programmed into their cell phones, or carried in their wallets. For family members without a cell phone, a phone card should be put with the number.
Businesses should also get involved in disaster planning. The United States Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recommends that businesses should plan to stay open as long as possible, especially if they sell food or other supplies that may be necessary in an emergency. Businesses should also have a plan in place for their employees. Like with families, this should include an out-of-town contact for everyone to call to confirm that they are safe. Businesses should also prepare an emergency kit with the same supplies as a family kit.
Businesses should also have a secured back-up of all of their essential business information and accounting data. Any data that a business owner may need during and after an emergency should be backed up on an external hard drive. This should include contact information for all employees.
Disaster planning is something that very few people want to think about, but it is essential that everyone has a plan for potential emergencies. Emergency kits should be kept in a hallway near the main entry point of a home. Essential supplies, such as cash, flashlights, and water, should be stored in a vehicle, allowing for a fast evacuation if necessary. Disaster planning may only take a couple of hours, but it could make a huge difference in the case of an emergency.