Prepare for Tragedy: Continuity of Operations Planning

Prepare for Tragedy: Continuity of Operations Planning

( – Tragedy often strikes with little notice, if any at all. A common community tragedy comes in the form of natural disasters such as hurricanes, tornadoes, or earthquakes. While there is nothing you can do to stop such events, you can still prepare your family. Preparation is the ultimate defense against any disaster — including the loss of life. Planning on how your family can function as a unit after disaster strikes, or when a member is lost, is known as continuity of operations planning, or COOP.


This is very important; your entire family needs to know every detail of the plan. Every single member of your household should have a task, and also have a written list of tasks. Everyone in the household should be able to complete any task within their capabilities. This is in case a member gets injured or incapacitated and can’t do their part. This is also why it is important for everyone to know the plan, as it doesn’t help if only you know it and you become incapacitated, or even die. Plan, Prepare, and Practice is the name of the game here.


In a situation like many Americans have faced during the COVID-19 pandemic, your employer may shut down. If you’re able to, work from home. If you can’t work from home, this will likely affect your income. Or maybe you were in an accident, and you’re hospitalized. You need a plan for someone to take care of the responsibilities you normally handle, at least temporarily. Try to keep at least a 3-month stockpile of supplies to ease the burden of shifted responsibilities.

Hard copies of any usernames or passwords need to be in an area where everyone knows where they are. This is in case you are incapacitated and bills need to be paid, or certain documents need to be accessed. You should also keep hard copies of the continuity plan, to ensure every family member can use it as a reference. This also allows your family to proceed with the plan even if you’re not there. There are high priority people that you’ll want to check on, or update with information. Be sure to keep a hard copy of ways to reach these people, that way anyone in the house can easily contact them.


Each member of your family should be able to independently execute your plan. When creating a plan this is vital, no one should be left in the dark as their life may depend on it. Preparation is key, but no amount of planning or preparation is effective as it could be without practice. Practice different tragedies, but also practice glitches within those tragedies. For instance, run a tornado drill, but assume that the head of the household has a broken leg. The key to being fully prepared lies in accounting for as many variables as possible, in as many ways as possible.

Do you have plans in place for what to do if the very worst occurs? Reply to your email and share your thoughts, we would love to hear from you!

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