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Make A Plan


Why Plan?


Planning helps you with preparation, and preparation will help you survive and recover faster from any incident or disaster than would be possible if you were suddenly thrown into the middle of a disaster with no plan, no supplies, no resources and no idea where to go or how to seek shelter and assistance.


THE PLAN – is the roadmap to help you prepare yourself, your family, your loved ones, your pets and your extended family and friends for what may happen if an incident or disaster occurs.


THE PREPARATIONS – allow you to store essential information, food, supplies, medication, resources and other important personal items in a “ready to go” or easy to access way,. This means you have a minimum of delay, confusion and uncertainty when the need to evacuate arises.


THE ACTION – is the steps you will take to implement your plan and use your preparations either as a practice test – or in real life.  Testing and reviewing your plans and preparations is essential to make sure everyone knows the details, everyone knows the preparations, and anyone can “take action” if and when necessary.


THE RECOVERY – may take a long time and may be fraught with delay, disappointment and struggle, but imagine going through this if you weren’t as well prepared as you will be if you implement these simple plans ahead of time.  Having your family identification papers, insurance documents, house content lists, credit card and banking information, some personally important items and some comfort foods for you and your family and loves ones will make recover just a little easier to handle.  A few hours of preparation can literally make a WORLD of different after a disaster.



What Plans Do I Need?


This question will best be answered by your own circumstances and by the loved ones you live with, and the colleagues you work with or spend leisure time with.   You may only need to develop a personal or family plan if you don’t work outside of your home, or alternatively you may need to develop a work and pet plan in addition to your personal/family plan.


The basic idea is to give some thought to how you would respond to a disaster if it happened RIGHT NOW, and what resources you would need in order to look after yourself and your loved ones for SEVEN days if no help or supplies were available from anyone else.


The Personal / Family Plan


This plan will help you:


  • Identify safe areas of your home for family members to seek shelter during earthquake, hurricane, shelter in place orders etc.
  • Identify alternative evacuation routs from you home
  • Identify areas where you will store your “go bag” and emergency supplies
  • Identify assembly areas where you will meet if you must evacuate
  • List important documents you will copy and include in your “go bag”
  • List important medications or special “comfort” foods that would be important if you need to evacuate
  • List out of city/state contacts that you and your family members can communicate with or stay with if you are unable to return home or contact each other in the immediate aftermath of a disaster.
  • Etc…….



The Work Plan


If you work out of the home, or spend time away from home at a volunteer or location other than your home, it is useful to prepare a plan that covers that location also:


  • Review your workspace to identify safe areas and evacuation routes
  • Take necessary steps to make your work area as safe as possible i.e. secure heavy objects to walls or desks or keep them close to the floor level,
  • Have a “work go kit” at your workspace and also one in your vehicle if you typically drive to and from work.  This can be smaller and intended only for TWO days of survival, as you can hopefully get to your home for your full “go kit” within that time.
  • Ensure your company or volunteer organization takes preparations seriously and practices once a year.
  • Etc………



The Pet Plan


Our pets are as important to us as other members of our family, and it will take a similar amount of focus and preparation to ensure they are well cared for during and immediately after an incident of disaster.  Your pet plan will consider:


  • Ensuring your dog/cat is used to being caged and is comfortable with this for quick evacuations or short duration stays out of your home.
  • Ensuring your bird cages, aquariums and so on are properly secured and stable during an earthquake.
  • Keeping important inoculation documents and medications in your “pet go kit” as well as some treats and toys to keep your pet engaged during what will be a stress inducing time
  • Collars and leashes in good working condition and some spares just in case.
  • A plan to evacuate your pet to friends or family outside of the disaster area if it is just too difficult on your pet to keep them during the recovery phase
  • Etc………


How Do I Create A Disaster Plan?


There are many on-line resources that will assist you in the development of the plan or plans you may want to prepare.  These will vary from person to person and family to family based on your own unique needs, desires and requirements, thus no single plan will look exactly the same as anyone else’s.  Some general concepts however will run through all plans. 


Check out the following resources for ideas on creating plans, what to include, what to think about, what to pre-plan and what supplies to prepare.  If a section makes sense for you and your family, include it in your plan.  If a section doesn’t seem to apply to you or your family, skip it and move on.  If you think of something that is not in the plan, then add it to your own plan.


Sample Plans


City And County of San Francisco –

American Red Cross –

US Federal Emergency Management Agency –

San Francisco Animal Care & Control – Pet Disaster Plan

Totally Unprepared Web Site –

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