What is Preparedness and How to Prepare for It?

Preparedness is the ability to anticipate and respond to potential hazards, events, or conditions. It is a set of research-based actions taken as precautionary measures in the face of potential disasters. Preparing for an emergency situation requires individuals, families, businesses, religious and community groups, profitable groups, schools and academia, the media, and all levels of government to play an active role. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) provides guidance on how to prepare for different types of disasters.

For example, if you live in an area prone to hurricanes, you should create an evacuation plan. If you live in a seismic zone, you should ensure that emergency shelters and reinforced buildings are available. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has developed a cyclical approach called Preparedness for Effective Response (PER). This approach helps analyze the capacities, strengths and weaknesses within the response system of a National Society.

The PER e-learning course on the IFRC learning platform provides more information about the different phases of this approach. Preparedness is an important quality for achieving goals and for avoiding and mitigating negative outcomes. It is a condition for being fully prepared for something, especially for some kind of disaster. In the United States, before Hurricane Katrina, preparedness was largely considered the responsibility of first responders and other emergency services.

Preparedness is also an important phase of emergency management and is especially valued in areas such as sports and military science.

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