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Creating a Disaster Plan for Your Business

Updated: Dec 11, 2023

As you're creating your disaster plan, keep the following preparation elements in mind:

  1. Sign up for severe weather alerts in your area.

  2. Program emergency numbers into your phone.

  3. Decide on a meeting place for your family/Co-workers to gather outside away from the building in a safe place.

  4. Plan escape routes . Remember, doors could be blocked and unable to access. Have at least one alternate route — or more if possible.


Floods are the most common natural disaster in the United States.

  1. Develop slowly or quickly. Flash floods can come with no warning.

  2. Cause outages, disrupt transportation, damage buildings and create landslides.


  1. Do not walk, swim or drive through flood waters. Turn Around, Don’t Drown!

  2. Just six inches of moving water can knock you down, and one foot of moving water can sweep your vehicle away.

  3. Stay off of bridges over fast-moving water.

  4. Follow the designated evacuation routes and expect heavy traffic.


Fires the second most common disaster.

  1. Fire is FAST! In less than 30 seconds a small flame can turn into a major fire. It only takes minutes for thick black smoke to fill a house or for it to be engulfed in flames.

  2. Fire is HOT! Heat is more threatening than flames. Room temperatures in a fire can be 100 degrees at floor level and rise to 600 degrees at eye level. Inhaling this super-hot air will scorch your lungs and melt clothes to your skin.

  3. Fire is DARK! Fire starts bright, but quickly produces black smoke and complete darkness.

  4. Fire is DEADLY! Smoke and toxic gases kill more people than flames do. Fire produces poisonous gases that make you disoriented and drowsy. Asphyxiation is the leading cause of fire deaths, exceeding burns by a 3-to-1 ratio.

Decide on a meeting place for your family/Co-workers to gather outside away from the building in a safe place.


1. Drop (or Lock)

Wherever you are, drop down to your hands and knees and hold onto something sturdy.

2. Cover

Cover your head and neck with your arms. If a sturdy table or desk is nearby, crawl underneath it for shelter. If no shelter is nearby, crawl next to an interior wall (away from windows).

3. Hold On

If you are under a table or desk, hold on with one hand and be ready to move with it if it movesIf you are in a car, pull over and stop. Set your parking brake.

  1. If you are in bed, turn face down and cover your head and neck with a pillow.

  2. If you are outdoors, stay outdoors away from buildings.

  3. If you are inside, stay and do not run outside and avoid doorways.


  1. Happen anytime and anywhere.

  2. Bring intense winds, over 200 miles per hour.

  3. Go to a safe shelter immediately, such as a safe room, basement, storm cellar or a small interior room on the lowest level of a sturdy building.

  4. Stay away from windows, doors, and outside walls.

  5. Do not go under an overpass or bridge. You’re safer in a low, flat location.

  6. Watch out for flying debris that can cause injury or death.

  7. Use your arms to protect your head and neck.

  8. If you can’t stay at home, make plans to go to a public shelter.

Active Shooters

  1. Seek safety. Getting away from the attacker is the top priority.

  2. Leave your belongings behind and get away

  3. Call 9-1-1 when you are safe and describe the attacker, location and weapons.

Cover and Hide

  1. If you can’t evacuate, cover and hide. Find a place to hide out of view of the attacker and if possible, put a solid barrier between yourself and the threat.

  2. Lock and block doors, close blinds and turn off lights.

  3. Keep silent.

Recommended Items to Include in a Basic Emergency Supply Kit:

  1. Water, one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation

  2. Food, at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food

  3. Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both

  4. Flashlight and extra batteries

  5. First aid kit

  6. Whistle to signal for help

  7. Dust mask, to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place

  8. Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation

  9. Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities

  10. Can opener for food (if kit contains canned food)

  11. Local maps


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