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Preparing for disaster – a Pillars guide

How to save lives by planning how to respond if disaster strikes

2002 Available in English, French, Portuguese, Spanish, Bahasa Indonesia, Bengali (Bangla), Chinese Mandarin and Nepali

Constructing earthquake resilient houses in Nepal

Constructing earthquake resilient houses in Nepal. Photo: Tom Price

Pillars magazines on a desk

From: Pillars guides

Practical, discussion-based learning on community development for small groups

This guide encourages communities to consider possible risk situations and helps them prepare to respond effectively. It includes information on first aid, emergency stores and community shelters.

Anticipated outcomes:

  • effective and ongoing community organisation
  • communities educated in a variety of self-help measures including emergency health care and maintaining emergency water supplies and sanitation
  • local organisations working effectively together at all levels
  • an improved network of local communications
  • improved co-operation with local authorities

For most people a disaster is something that always happens somewhere else, never in their own area. 

Most people see little point in preparing for a disaster that may never happen to them. Sadly, disasters come in many forms and no community is ever safe from disaster striking. Sometimes there is little, or no, warning. 

Usually it is the response of the local community within the first day or two that determines how many lives will be saved – long before government or outside experts arrive to give help and support. It is often possible to prevent a disaster becoming serious by taking action before disaster happens.

Objectives of this guide

  • To increase awareness of the need to prepare for a possible disaster
  • To reduce the impact of disasters by helping a community to work together more effectively, by considering their ability to respond to disaster
  • To enable local facilities to respond adequately to any kind of crisis
  • To educate local people in basic emergency procedures

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