NCDP developed the “5 Action Steps to Personal Preparednessmodel for the purpose of providing an easy way to think about preparedness that applies to any emergency or disaster. This is the way that we think about preparedness. Using this framework of 5 critical action steps will help you think through, plan, and create a family emergency plan.

Disasters can and do happen, sometimes with notice and other times, none at all. A storm can suddenly change its path, even slightly, and cause severe devastation. You can be prepared for any event. Being prepared is more than completing a checklist or assembling a kit. Being prepared requires planning based on thinking–thinking about the risks you face, the needs of your household and the way you and your family live and work day-to-day. It also means thinking about how you want to live during the days immediately following a disaster when government and community services may not be available, for days or weeks.

The NCDP Model for Disaster Preparedness

Having a personal and family preparedness plan increases your chances of staying safe and helps you to be resilient during and after a disaster. To ‘live with resilience’ means that no matter what obstacles you will face, you will survive and get back to normal. A well thought out plan also enables you and your family to be as comfortable as possible during and after a disaster. And, if you are an emergency responder, or you have an emergency role at your work place, you will want to be assured that your family is taken care of before you answer your agency’s call to report to work. Your family plan will help you at home and at work and does not have to be long or complex to be effective.

Organize your plan around your risks, your household’s essential basic  needs of food and water, and two possible scenarios: to stay or to go. Everyone in the household must be involved in creating the plan and everyone must know the plan, including care takers and vital support persons.

What risks do you face?  are the risks for you and your family where you live and where you go to school or work? These can be very different places and different risks. Your family members, or other key people in your social network, may attend school, work or attend camp in a very different place than your home, even in different cities. How will you communicate if family members are separated?

Who makes up your household? Do you have infants, nursing mothers, children, elderly, anyone with special health care needs or mobility or developmental challenges? These are important things to think about and understand how each disaster may impact the family.  You will need to pull together special items, vital medications and sometimes, equipment; this will take some thoughtful planning.

Stay or go? To stay, means you will “ride out” the storm or emergency at home or go to a friend or family member’s home and “hunker down”. To go means you may have to evacuate to an emergency shelter if emergency officials determine that your area is at risk for more severe damage or you may leave town entirely. There is a third possibility, one we don’t often think about: if you are at work or school or on the road and a disaster strikes and you have to shelter-in-place, meaning you must stay wherever you  are until it is safe to leave. Each of these situations demands decisions and requires emergency supplies. It is best to know your risks now and plan according to your household needs before a disaster strikes.

Below you will find a collection of resources which will not only help you bring your plan together, but will help you remain active and thoughtful throughout the process. Equally important to your family’s plan is connecting with your community. This could mean meeting your neighbors for the first time, forming or joining informal community groups, speaking to local emergency officials, or volunteering with preparedness organizations such as the American Red Cross or your local Community Emergency Response Team (CERT).

Begin planning today. Gather the family and work the 5 Steps to Preparedness!