5 Ways You Can Prepare Your Community for Any Disaster

September 8, 2022

Though disaster can strike at any time and any place, there are certain areas of the country (and world) that are prone to specific types of disasters. For example, hurricane season is typically considered to span from June to November, with September as the most active month, and states along the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean are more likely to experience hurricanes. 

Whether you live in a big city that may be likely to experience civil unrest or an area of the country known for certain natural disasters, such as earthquakes, hurricanes, or tornadoes, it is important to be adequately prepared for any, and all, disasters that may occur.

Here are 5 ways you can prepare your community for any disaster:

1. Encourage residents to create an emergency disaster kit. 

Unprecedented events like Hurricanes Harvey and Ida and the COVID-19 pandemic have taught us that it is never a bad idea to be overly prepared. Though emergency kits can be tailored to each region, good items to have in a general disaster kit include a battery-operated radio and flashlight, food and water for at least a few days, first aid kit, essential medicines, hand sanitizer, fire extinguisher, small tool kit, rope, and duct tape.

Download our "Emergency Preparedness Checklist" as a starting point for your emergency disaster kit and planning.

2. In addition to a disaster kit, help residents make an emergency plan.

Residents should have a plan for where and how to meet if they are separated during a disaster event. Educate residents on what emergency services may be available in your area and where to go in case of emergency. Note if certain venues, such as schools or churches, are typically used as hubs in emergency situations. 

3. Remind residents to check their insurance policies.

Standard homeowner policies often do not cover incidents such as flooding and earthquake damage. If you preside over an area that is susceptible to certain types of natural disasters, inform your community residents that they may require an additional insurance policy to be adequately covered. 

4. Educate residents on these topics throughout the year.

Certain language and knowledge, such as the anatomy of a hurricane or the difference between a storm “watch” and “warning,” are beneficial for residents to know before a disaster strikes. Sharing informative graphics on your social media accounts is one way to make sure community residents are up-to-date on what to do before, during, and after a disaster event. 

Find shareable general and disaster-specific graphics on our social media management platform, LAW Digital

5. Conduct disaster preparedness events.

Conduct department-led events in your community that teach community residents how to react in specific situations. For example, a “How to Prepare for Flooding” event could include informing attendees of ways to “flood-proof” their homes; what to do during a flood, such as elevating important items and disconnecting electrical appliances; and how to react if caught in a flash flood.

Our journal titled, “When Disaster Strikes: A Guide to Emergency Management and Homeland Security,” is a guide for law enforcement agencies to distribute throughout their community to prepare residents for both natural and man-made disasters.
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