Flaw in your emergency plan?


f course, you hope nothing will ever happen.

Broken security glassAnd it’s painful to imagine yourself, a loved one or a co-worker buried in darkness under debris, fighting to stay alive long enough to be found.

Almost too painful to contemplate.

But if you’ve watched the news, you know that this has been a reality for dozens, even hundreds of people this year alone!

It’s also a reality that most lives that can be saved will be saved by neighbors or co-workers in the first 15-30 minutes.  In a big disaster, First Responders are simply overwhelmed.

In a big disaster, you and the people around you become the First Responders whether you like it or not!

When asked, about half the American public says they have considered all this and that they are prepared with a plan for disaster.

When questioned a bit more, though . . .

Even prepared families admit to a number of flaws in their planning.

How about you?

Flaw number oneDoing only the minimum.

. . . like storing some water and food at home and letting it go at that.

If this applies to you, perhaps you have the notion that bad things only happen to OTHER people???

The top three emergency supplies most commonly overlooked:

  • Medicines for at least 10 days
  • Emergency Communications for when phones are out
  • Light to see by at night.

Remember, when the electricity goes, phones don’t work, your cell phone can’t be recharged, there’s no internet, no heating, no lighting, no gas for the car, no ATMs, no cash registers at the market . . . the list goes on. Water and food are just the start of what you’ll need.

Flaw number two – Not thinking about where you’ll actually be when the disaster hits.

Where will your children be, where will other family members be?  How and when will you make it home?

There’s a really good chance that when the disaster hits you won’t be at home where your emergency supplies are stored!

Take a moment to think about your day:

At 7 a.m., where are your family members? What about at 8? At 9? Have they arrived at work or at school? Are any of them on the road? When do they start heading home again? How will they manage if they get home and you don’t?

Flaw number threeIgnoring planning at your work.

Statistics show that 3 out of 4 small business owners don’t even have an emergency preparedness plan. Without a plan, after a disaster half those businesses will fail and take the jobs of their employees down with them.

Other stats are even more sobering:

“If the company can’t get back to work within five days, there’s a 90% chance you’ll all be out of work within a year!”

This applies to an at-home or part-time business as much as to a full-fledged enterprise with employees.

Does the place you work have a plan to . . .

  • Take care of employee safety and survival?
  • Help employees connect with family members?
  • Maintain essential functions if the building can’t be used?

These are only three of the possible flaws in a plan. As you can imagine, every person’s plan is somewhat different.

What’s the solution?

Take it a step at a time. When it comes to emergency preparations for the family, start with one of the simple Top 10 Lists like this one. And make sure you have completed a Family Communications Plan. At work, get the conversation started using our simple flyer.


Follow up. Get these resources now and make sure you won’t be blamed for obvious flaws in your plan.

Or worse, hear one of your family members say, “Why didn’t you do something to protect us?”

When the emergency hits it will be too late to make any corrections.



EmergencyPlanGuide.org authors Joe Krueger and Virginia Nicols live in earthquake country.  They’ve worked with major corporations on disaster recovery programs and have headed up their neighborhood CERT team (Community Emergency Response Team) for the past 13 years. Both are graduates of the FEMA CERT, NIM and ICS programs.  In addition, Joe holds a General Class Amateur Radio Operator’s license and is certified by the American Red Cross in Emergency Shelter Management.  For more emergency preparedness ideas, planning guides and ongoing tips, visit:  www.EmergencyPlanGuide.org

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