Plan – Individual Actions

Everyone knows that they should have a family disaster plan, but sometimes it is not clear what exactly should be in that plan, and what else you need to do to plan for a disaster.  We’ve identified three areas for you to focus your efforts throughout the year.

I. Complete your plan:

We’ve identified ten specific points that should be addressed in your family disaster plan.  If you’d like a free template to use for your plan, please sign up here.

  1. Contact Information
  2. Medical Information
  3. State/Local Emergency Information Sources
  4. Emergency Meeting Locations
  5. Primary Local Hazards
  6. Key Documents
  7. Shelter-in-place location
  8. Escape Routes
  9. Communications procedures
  10. Family Member Disaster Responsibilities


II.Stay informed

          1. Threats/hazards – you should have a basic knowledge concerning the man-made and natural threats/hazards that you could face such as the following:

a)    Natural Hazards

    1. Flooding
    2. Hurricane
    3. Fire
    4. Severe Winter Storm
    5. Tsunami
    6. Volcano
    7. Other

b)    Man-Made Threats/Hazards

    1. Toxic Industrial Chemical/Material Spill/Release
    2. Transportation accident
    3. Active shooter
    4. Chemical attack
    5. Biological attack
    6. Radiological attack
    7. Nuclear attack
    8. Improvised explosive attack
    9. Cyber attack
    10. Other

c)     To find natural hazards common in your area enter your zip code through this site:

         2.  Warning – Identify how you will stay informed of potential or on-going disasters in your area.  This includes knowing the latest social media tools and apps that can provide this information.

a)    News Sources- local/national/international events:

b)    Traffic

c)     Weather;

d)    Maps

e)    Other

3. Resources – Identify all of the resources that are available concerning disaster preparedness.

a)    Government

    1. Federal
    2. StateOffices of Emergency Management:
    3. Local

b)    Private Sector

c)     Non-Governmental Organizations


III. Take action

  1. Legal preparedness – Complete key legal documents such as a will, living will, living trust, and power of attorney.
  2. Financial preparedness – Complete key financial preparations to prepare for a disaster to include planning for what to do if you are unable to work for a short or extended period of time.
  3. Administrative preparedness – Make copies of key family documents and store them on and off-site in a waterproof container and/or through a cloud storage provider.
  4. Mitigation for your house – Get a professional home inspection, and identify steps you can take to protect your household and belongings from fire, flood, earthquake, etc..
  5. Communication – Plan for how to maintain communication during a disaster, and how to protect yourself from a cyber-attack.  Take info security precautions, use antivirus software, use cloud backup/external devices, and have battery backups/additional chargers for your laptop and cell phones.