What is Disaster Planning?

Margo Upson

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.

An emergency kit should contain non-perishable snacks, like chips.
An emergency kit should contain non-perishable snacks, like chips.

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.

Many families develop disaster plans, especially in areas prone to hurricanes or other natural disasters.
Many families develop disaster plans, especially in areas prone to hurricanes or other natural disasters.

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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.

Natural disaster emergency kits often include water and food in case the two are not accessible after a disaster hits.
Natural disaster emergency kits often include water and food in case the two are not accessible after a disaster hits.

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.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency urges businesses--especially those that provide food and other supplies--to stay open as long as possible during a disaster.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency urges businesses--especially those that provide food and other supplies--to stay open as long as possible during a disaster.

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.

When planning for a disaster it is a good idea to stockpile canned goods.
When planning for a disaster it is a good idea to stockpile canned goods.

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.

A flashlight should be included in an emergency kit.
A flashlight should be included in an emergency kit.
Batteries may be useful in an emergency kit.
Batteries may be useful in an emergency kit.
People who live near major bodies of water should create preparation plans in case of floods.
People who live near major bodies of water should create preparation plans in case of floods.
Data should be backed up on an external hard drve.
Data should be backed up on an external hard drve.
Photocopies of personal documents, like social security cards and passports, should be kept in an emergency kit.
Photocopies of personal documents, like social security cards and passports, should be kept in an emergency kit.
Planning for a disaster should include a supply of needed medications.
Planning for a disaster should include a supply of needed medications.
Putting together a first aid kit is an important part of disaster planning.
Putting together a first aid kit is an important part of disaster planning.
Personal hygiene items, like soap, should be included in an emergency kit.
Personal hygiene items, like soap, should be included in an emergency kit.

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