How to Write a Plan
Preparedness - Getting Started Series
How to Write A Plan
Contributed by Rob Hanus
Once you’ve decided it’s time to become better prepared, the next step is to take action. This can be a daunting task, as there are many things to do in order to be well prepared. Unfortunately, many people stop at this point, as they become overwhelmed with all that needs to be done.
An important point to keep in mind is it’s not necessary to prepare for every possible contingency. Starting with a small plan is a great way to start and is much better than waiting until your plan is perfect. In other words, start today, and improve as you go. Which means, the first thing you need is a plan.
Your Preparedness Plan
A preparedness plan is a written document containing several different aspects of your preparedness. In it, you should include what you and your family will do in the event of an emergency or disaster, along with important information and what you have stored, where items are stored, and the actions you need to take when certain events occur. Basically, if it’s important or needs to be remembered, it should be written down in your plan.
Writing down your plan is very important, as everyone in your family needs access to the plan and the information contained within, especially when you’re not available. Your plan needs to contain contact information for family and friends and where to look for extra information (books, documents, TV, radio, internet, apps, Twitter accounts, and so on). It should also have a list of actions to take and the locations of your preparedness supplies. You should review your plan with your family on a regular basis, but life often gets in the way and having it written down allows everyone to quickly access the information when needed.
Additionally, your plan is a great place to write down those items you already have and which you plan on buying. Itemizing your next purchases can help to stay within budget and ensure you’re focusing on those items actually needed to survive the aftermath of a disaster. While you may want that Remington Custom Shop M7 Scout with Burris 2–7x32mm Scout Scope, you should first ensure you have enough food, water and other supplies on hand.
As an example, in the event of a widespread power outage, your plan would outline which local radio stations to tune to for information (ideally, those having emergency power) and to remind you or your family to fill the tubs and extra containers with water. Other parts of your plan may explain how to work the camp stove or how to use the water filter, as well as where to locate these items. You plan should also include things, like, who is going to pick up the kids from school or check on elderly family members.
A proper plan starts with a risk assessment of your area, so you know which local hazards exist. Local events have a greater chance of affecting you and your family, so don’t overlook these. For example, if you have a rail line or refinery near your house, a greater chance for a chemical spill exists. Be sure to put this in your plan, along with any actions needed, like how to shelter in place or whether to evacuate. Fires, both urban and wild, are likely causes for a quick evacuation and require a quick response.
Other things to include in your plan are important phone numbers (family, friends, neighbors, doctors, veterinarian, plumber, handyman, local emergency services, etc.) and your evacuation plan, which details when to leave and where to go, in addition to which items to grab before you leave. Having an evacuation grab list increases the likelihood of grabbing critical supplies when you’re under duress from having to evacuate.
As mentioned at the start of this article, when you’re making your plan, it’s quite easy to become overwhelmed by information overload. Thinking about all that goes into being prepared, it’s easy to throw your hands up in the air and pretend you’ll come back to it later. Luckily, however, you can achieve a decent amount of preparedness fairly simply.
Historical events have shown us there is a common set of needs in almost every disaster, and this is where you should start your preparations. In general order of importance, the things you will likely need to provide for yourself after a disaster include:
The exact order would depend on your situation, but in general, you can consider all of these important enough to include in every preparedness plan.
To help you get started, each month we’ll focus on one of these items. Simply follow along and build your emergency preparedness plan and supply with us!