Disaster can strike anywhere at any time and the only thing to do to minimise the fallout is to have a disaster plan in place. Make sure that you familiarise yourself, your co-workers and your family with the plan so that you are ready to act in the case of an emergency. The difference it makes is that at the very least, you will have a predetermined place to meet and won’t get lost in the mayhem.
Here’s a list to help you prepare a detailed disaster plan:
• Keep emergency contact lists on your phone and printed copies somewhere prominent so that people know who to call
• Prepare a 72-hour emergency kit (check out this link for a detailed list of what you need to pack). Store your 72-hour kit in a container with wheels so that it can be moved with ease.
• Keep your important family and company documents (passports, identity documents, birth certificates, marriage/divorce certificates/ proof of residence/ property deeds and important legal documentation) in one file. Keep it somewhere where it is easy to grab on the way out. Save copies on a flash drive with inventories and store that on your car keys or somewhere that you can keep it with you.
• Create inventories for home and work and save them to a flash drive that you keep with you at all times
• Pack a “to-go” bag that has everything you need to keep you warm, safe, fed and prepared for medical care. Include batteries, a torch, a charged cell phone, prescription medicines, a firelighter, a multi-purpose tool and bottled water.
• Plan evacuation routes and meeting points at work and an escape route for home. Escape ladders for high windows are a good investment. Practice evacuations every couple of months.
If you are warned of imminent danger, take immediate action to evacuate the city or building – depending of course on what is appropriate for example a fire, flood or tsunami. Many people suffer from the “it’ll never happen to me” syndrome and end up regretting their lackadaisical attitude. Don’t put yourself in harm’s way because you think people are paranoid. At the same time, don’t get hysterical – stay calm.