Five Things to Know About Disaster Preparedness Plans

By Robyn Hagan Cain on August 25, 2011 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Here at FindLaw, we understand the pressures of being a legal professional - most of us are recovering lawyers - so we want to help by tossing you that preferred life preserver of the legal profession, the short list.

Today’s offering: five things to know about disaster preparedness plans.

The D.C. Quake of 2011 closed all of Washington’s federal courts and most local courts, according to the ABA Journal. While the courts were back in business on Wednesday, federal employees were offered the option of taking leave or working from home.

As the great D.C. quake reminds us, both at work and at home, it's important to have emergency preparedness plans in place. Here are a few tips and resources to help your plan for whatever the fates might hand you.

  1. Earthquakes can happen to you. Review the Federal Emergency Management Agency's earthquake preparedness information. Though commonly dismissed as one of the consequences of living on the West Coast, earthquakes aren't restricted to California. Granted, Tuesday's D.C. quake was the strongest to shake the East Coast since 1944, but you should still know what to do if the ground starts shaking.
  2. Evacuation complete? What if an emergence strikes while you are in court? The Occupational Safety and Health Administration website has evacuation plans and procedures for both employers and employees.
  3. Kick off your heels. Several D.C. attorneys opined yesterday that evacuations should proceed faster in a post-9/11 world. Duly noted. While it's important to remain calm and orderly when evacuating a courthouse or office building, you might impede the evacuation if you're descending 15 flights stairs in high heels. Slip on your commuting shoes on your way out of the office.
  4. Fire! Fire! Fire! Do you know what destroyed San Francisco after the 1906 earthquake? Fire. Earthquakes can cause fires, so brush up on fire preparedness plans. And let's be honest, you're more likely to encounter a D.C. fire than a D.C. quake, so fire safety knowledge is useful.
  5. Blow Hard: Just as the District collectively calms its nerves following the earthquake, there's a major hurricane heading toward the East Coast. Hurricanes can cause storm surge, flooding, wind damage, and tornadoes. Check out hurricane preparedness plans on the National Hurricane Center's website.

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