5 Big Reasons to Create a Disaster Plan
5 Big Reasons to Create a Disaster Plan
  1. 11/08 Mumbai Terrorist Attacks
  2. 5/08 Earthquake in Southern China
  3. 8/05 Hurricane Katrina
  4. 12/04 Tsunamis in Southeast Asia
  5. 9/11/01

The first decade of the 21st century has not been an easy one for individuals across the world. Looking back, many of us were completely unprepared when disaster struck. Based on the lines at the gas station and grocery stores in central Texas before Hurricane Ike struck the gulf coast in September, many Americans have learned their lesson, but a day may come when there's not enough time for a trip to the grocery store or the gas stations are all closed. We only need to look back a few years to know it's true.

However, there's no need to panic if you're prepared. All of us have room for a disaster supply kit; all of us have time to create emergency plans. Implement these easy steps, discuss them with your family, and rest assured knowing that if and when disaster should strike, your family will be connected and protected.

  1. Determine the likelihood of various disasters that could affect your area. Consider the various occurrences for which you could require a disaster plan, such as floods, tornadoes, and wildfires as well as hazardous materials and terrorism. If you have questions about the history of such occurrences in your area, consult FEMA or The American Red Cross.
  2. Stay informed. If you don't have access to media such as internet, television, radio, or newspaper contact your local police station with any concerns or to see if emergency plans are in order.
  3. Have an evacuation plan. Evacuation is more common than people realize, and in the event of evacuation notification, it's important to be prepared. Ask authorities about local evacuation routes and keep a full tank of gas in your car if evacuation seems likely. Be sure to manually shut off utilities before leaving your home.
  4. When preparing for evacuation, remember that animals are generally not permitted in shelters, so establish an emergency plan for your pets beforehand. Contact local animal control office for more information.
  5. Establish a meeting place with your family. A crucial part of any disaster plan is the ability to locate family members when communication lines are down.
  6. Agree upon an out of state contact for friends and family members to reach out to should communication in your area become difficult. Every member of your family should carry a small emergency plan card on his or her person with important phone numbers listed.
  7. Prepare a 3-day Disaster Supply Kit including the following items:
    • Water (estimate 1 gallon per person per day)
    • Low salt foods, canned goods (with can-opener) and dry mixes
    • Battery powered radio or television
    • Flashlight
    • Extra Batteries
    • First aid kit
    • Sanitation items (paper towels, sanitizer)
    • Matches in a waterproof container
    • Whistle
    • Extra clothes
    • Bedding
    • Utensils and any necessary cooking items
    • Copies of identification and credit cards
    • Cash
    • Special needs items like glasses, medications, etc.
  8. Maintain your Disaster Supply Kit, checking expiration dates on foods and accounting for growing children.

Creating and maintaining an emergency plan will provide security, peace of mind, and might end up saving your life and the lives of those you love. As we've learned, no one is immune from disaster, but being prepared can make a world of difference.