How to prepare the disaster preparedness plan?



There is no rigid or standard format for disaster preparedness plans, in fact, the reverse applies, in that the format needs to fit the circumstances in which the plan is being made and the requirements, which it is designed to meet. The essential point is that the disaster preparedness plan should b£ exhaustive but also practical. Hence certain common features tend to apply to most plans. These are discussed below:

Clarity of Aim

The aim needs to be carefully and accurately selected, because it determines the whole thrust and scope of the plan. All information, guidelines, directions and instructions, which are included in the plan, need to be in line with the aim.


The plan must be realistic in the sense that it relates to an accurate assessment of the disaster threat and the vulnerability of the community and that it takes, into account the scale and capability of counter-disaster resources which are available. In most cases, the plan will be used under difficult disaster circumstances when, perhaps, communications are adversely affected; therefore, the plan should be able to respond to various contingencies during a disaster scenario.

Level of the Plan

The plan must be accurately related to the level with which it is concerned, e.g., Village level, Block level, Taluka or Tehsil level or District level.


Disaster circumstances tend to vary and do not necessarily follow set patterns, counter-disaster plans also need to be flexible. Flexibility is best achieved by planning to cope with the full range of possible disaster threats and ensuring that, within the overall plan, response arrangements can be rapidly adapted to new and changing circumstances. Planned decentralization, where appropriate, is a useful way towards achieving flexibility.


Since coordination of efforts is a key factor in counter-disaster activities, the plan-should include an optimum system for direction/coordination.

Assignment of responsibility

It is critically important that responsibilities are clearly and unambiguously defined and assigned in the plans. This reduces to a minimum the possibility of misunderstandings, duplications and omissions in the various activities the plan covers. Of equal importance is the fact that clear definition of responsibilities significantly helps in achieving coordination of effort.

Ease of Use

The plan should be formulated in such a way that it is easy to understand and easy to use. References within the plan should be clear and readily identifiable. Also, the text of the plan needs to be kept as clear and concise as possible, with annexes being used for very detailed information.

Plan Components

There are a number of options for dividing the plan into sections or components. One way this can be achieved is to have:

i) A main plan (or main action plan) which contains the primary parts of the plan, such as the anticipated disaster threat, vulnerability of the community (including its strengths and weaknesses in relation to each anticipated disaster scenario), the main requirements for dealing with the threat, resources, organisation, direction and coordination, warning, operational implementation of the plan, counter-disaster operations, recovery policy, and post-disaster review process.

ii) Sub-plans which are a part of the main plan but which may be required to amplify parts of the main plan which need special consideration, such as evacuation, relief camps, public information, and so on.

iii) Special plans which may be required to deal with special contingencies such as an outbreak of common or rare disease, which would require specialist personnel and procedures. Such special plans would normally be designed to work in harmony with the main plan and utilize the overall counter-disaster effort as necessary.

Viability : P - 27

The Plan should include arrangements for periodically reviewing so that it is kept up-to-date and fully viable for the purposes for which it is designed.

Structure of the Plan

A typical disaster preparedness plan is structured as follows:

(i) Contents

(ii) Authorization

(iii) Map References

(iv) Introduction

(a) The Disaster Threat

(b) National Policy and State Policy

(c) General Concept for Disaster Action

(v) Aim of the Plan

(vi) Definitions

(vii) Relationships with other Plans

(viii) Main requirements for dealing with Disasters in the area

(ix) Emergency Powers

(a) Disaster Legislation

(b) Other Legislation

(x) Counter-Disaster Resources

(a) Within the area

(b) In the neighborhood

(xi) Organizational Structure and Responsibilities

(a) Prime Minister

(b) Chief Minister/Administrator (of Union Territory)

(c) Nodal Ministry at the Centre and State

(d) National Disaster Management Structure

(e) State or Regional Disaster Management Committees

(f) District Disaster Management Structure

(g) Non-government Organizations active in the area and their specializations and resources

(h) Other community based organizations in the area

(i) Defence Services and Para Military Forces available in the area for Disaster Management work

(j) International Assistance Arrangements

(k) Coordination of Planning, Organizational and Operational Measures-Control Room

(l) Media cooperation

(xii) Preparedness Measures

(a) General

(b) National Level

(c) State Level

(d) District and/or Community Level

(e) Training and Public Awareness Programmes

(xiii) Communications (General and Emergency)

(xiv) Operational Direction and Coordination

(a) Responsibility for Operational Direction and Coordination

(b) National Emergency Operations Centre - Control Room

(c) State Emergency Centres - Control Room

(d) District Emergency Centre (Control Room)

(e) Field Control Rooms

(xv) Warning Arrangements

(a) General

(b) Agencies Originating Warnings,

(c) Transmission of Warnings

(d) Dissemination and Public Broadcast of Warnings

(e) Notification of de-alert or Ail-Clear messages

(xvi) Operational Implementation of Plan

Stages of Implementation

(xvii) Counter-Disaster (or Response) Operations

(a) Precautionary Measures

(b) Activation of Emergency Operations Centres (Control Rooms)

(c) Direction and Coordination of Operations

(d) information Requirements

(e) Operational Requirements in disaster stricken areas

(f) Operational Action - National Level

(g) Operational Action - State, Regional and Local Levels

(h) Period of Disaster Operations (Emergency Phase)

(xviii) Recovery

(a) Statement of Policy for Recovery

(b) Responsibility for Recovery Programme

(c) Cross-reference to Recovery Plan (if applicable)

(xix) Post-Disaster Review

(a) Responsibility

(b) Debriefing

(c) Review of Plans and Organizations

(xx) Support Measures

(a) Training

(b) Public Awareness

(xxi) Annexures

(a) Distribution Lists

(b) Telephone Numbers, cell phone numbers and addresses of functionaries

(c) List of Resources

(d) Functional Diagram of Organisation

(e) Allocation of Roles and Responsibilities to Resource Organisation

(f) Guidelines for International Assistance Arrangements

(g) Communications

(h) Detailed Information on Warning

(i) Precautionary Measures on Receipt of Warning

(j) Guidelines on Training

(k) Guidelines on Public Awareness

(l) Format for Departmental Standard Operational Procedures

(m) List of media persons and agencies with telephone numbers