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Draw a floor plan of your home.  Mark two escape routes from each room (usually a window and door).
Pick one out-of-state and one local friend or relative for family members to call if separated by disaster (it is often easier to call out-of-state than within the affected area).
Pick two meeting places.  A place near your home in case of a fire, and a place outside your neighborhood in case you cannot return home after a disaster. Keep copies of essential documents, such as identification, insurance policies, and financial records, in a secure, waterproof container, and keep with your disaster supplies kits.
Based on the tragic events in Japan, families everywhere may be thinking about creating a detailed disaster plan. Disaster plans should cover the basics like safe meeting spots and access to stored supplies, but should also address the specific needs of chronically ill children, like having access to electricity that can run a respirator or having plenty of water to clean feeding tubes. Murray also suggests having an emergency information form that contains contact information for medical providers, friends and family, which could be incredibly important if parents and children are separated after a disaster.
The most critical step in being able to recover from a disaster is being prepared for one in the first place. Anyone who has actually managed a business' recovery from a disaster knows that the most critical factor when it comes to business and operation continuity is having a plan in place before the disaster strikes. In an emergency, the most wasteful use of workers' time (and sometimes their safety), is in setting up makeshift IT triage—that is, on-the-fly access to data and applications after a disaster.
Disaster preparedness means having, at the very least, the data and apps that are required to keep day-to-day operations already running in a remote location and ready to access. Also it's practically guaranteed that, after experiencing a disaster, a company will not be running with its full staff. Easier Than Ever Such disaster preparedness is easier than ever for companies to deploy because of changing trends in technology.


Almost three-quarters of the largest segment of business and the economy, SMBs, currently do not have an emergency contingency plan.
Disaster preparedness can be implemented for lower costs than ever, thanks to technologies such as cloud computing and virtualization. Information Gathering Before putting anything down on paper (or on screen) it's important to think about disaster scenarios most likely to affect the immediate location.
Although no one can predict when, where, or what kind of disaster will strike, a good first step in disaster preparedness is in knowing what types of disasters an area is more subject to experience.
The problem, of course, is that IT may not be familiar enough with the inner workings of other departments in a business to know what's required in the time of disasters.
3 Steps For Disaster Preparedness Pre-Planning Pre-planning is a must before even documenting a disaster preparedness policy.
Thinking about the disasters most likely to affect the immediate area (but also recognizing the need to plan for unexpected catastrophes). Determining likely impacts on IT infrastructure and systems that both natural and man-made disasters can make—as well as the impact to other departments that IT may be called upon to support. Scheduling inter-department meetings so that business processes outside the scope of IT are accounted for and included in the disaster preparedness plan.
The next article in our series, "Outlining a Plan," details and documents how to draft a formal Disaster Preparedness plan, including identifying mission-critical data and systems, assessing the best plan for cost-effective and near seamless business continuity, and getting buy-in from the entire organization. Before the next earthquake, get together with your family or housemates to plan now what each person will do before, during and after.
To help alleviate some of their worry, you might consider involving your children in the creation of your family’s disaster preparedness. While disaster recovery will always involve some on-fly decision making and adapting to realities on the ground, both of these can be made orders of magnitude easier by having contingency plans and systems already in place, and staff who are already trained how to implement them. Disaster recovery (without proper preparedness) may mean IT scrambling to find a place to set up a replacement server, take a copy of the data and applications from the damaged server, and then restore that data and re-install mission-critical apps to give end-users the alternative access they need to continue key operations.


IT employees, who would setup these temporary disaster recovery fixes, may not be available or present to implement them, so redundancies need to be built in, and plans clearly documented, so that whoever needs to step in can do so. Cloud computing, virtualization, and the continuing increase of always-connected and relatively powerful mobile devices in the hands of end-users are all key ingredients in deploying a strong and effective disaster preparedness solution. In a recent survey conducted by Symantec of IT decision-makers in small- to-mid-sized businesses, only 26 percent have a disaster preparedness plan in place.
While economic woes could play a part in that lack of preparedness, the numbers convey that disaster preparedness is simply not at the forefront of many of these companies' priorities or budget allocation. However, making the jump to a working disaster rebound strategy requires considerable planning. This is especially important for electrical devices, as power outages can go on for some time after larger-scale disasters.
For instance, instructions on medicine dosage or techniques for managing a breathing tube may be particularly useful if the parent and child are separated after disaster strikes. If these companies needed a greater sense of urgency to get a disaster preparedness plan going, they only have to look at a study by the Insurance Information Institute, which found that 40 percent of small businesses never reopen after a disaster. Determine which natural disasters are more likely to impede business but don't neglect incidents that can happen anywhere or can be man-made such as a fire. A required step in pre-planning a disaster preparedness strategy is meeting with all representatives of every department in an organization and finding out which key functions, information, and systems must be available in an emergency. In this first of four articles on disaster preparedness, we tell you how to start thinking about disaster preparedness and how to gather the information you will need to create an effective, efficient plan for recovering from whatever fate throws at you. During a catastrophic event, Internet connectivity and land-line and mobile-communication networks can go down and remain unavailable for an extended period after the disaster.



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