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Emergency Planning that Holds Water

Planning for a pandemic might not be as different as you’d expect from planning for relatively common disasters like hurricanes. A joint project of FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security, Ready.gov has you covered with information about preparing for everything from avalanches to volcanoes, with stops along the way for troubles like power outages, pandemics, and something called “space weather.”

Focused on the family but also zooming in thoroughly on the needs of businesses and children, the project is full of useful, well-thought-out information and tools.

Younger children can play games to prepare themselves for disasters, while teens are encouraged to take a leadership role in their families and communities. Educators will find resources ranging from construction advice to preparedness topics for the classroom. And business owners can examine every possible angle, from defining preparedness-related performance objectives to thorough continuity planning.

When specific disasters, like the current COVID-19 pandemic, have a long lead time, there’s plenty of time and encouragement to get overwhelmed by your planning options. This is the default behavior of most businesses and governments, and a concept alien to most kids.

But this is where Ready.gov shines: there are lists and guidance for every aspect of life. Video, audio and print resources give you detail according to your age, profession, tribe, financial status, disabilities, and much more. You can get as little detail as you want (one gallon of water per person, per day), or as much (instructions on how to distill water at home) as you can handle.

But instead of overwhelming, it’s all very well-organized and clear. Because planning should be an exercise in clarity. Otherwise the plans just don’t hold water… and heaven knows you’re going to want everything to hold water if you need 50-70 gallons of the stuff sitting around.