Our secret fears are true: We write emergency plans that nobody reads. But it’s worse than that.
Done wrong (and most of us do it sort of wrong), disaster planning creates complicated documents full of specific actions that make us feel prepared but really just perpetuate a fantasy world. Poor planning makes disaster response worse – bureaucratic, slow, with a false sense of security and stubborn leaders that won’t innovate when we need them most.
But good emergency planning is desperately important. This handbook and its accompanying tools, checklists and templates will walk you through a planning process that compiles the best evidence-based planning techniques into one readable guide.
Please check it out! We don’t claim it’s perfect – but as preparedness folk, we’d like to help the field as much as we can. We’re always looking for feedback, too, so send your thoughts in to email@example.com.
Remember, these files are presented for instructional purposes only and are not necessarily the exact tools we use at NYC Health.
Managing Chaos: A Disaster Planner’s Handbook - Guide and Tools
Get to know the Evidence-Based Planning Criteria used in the Handbook (PDF)
Read Managing Chaos: A Disaster Planner’s Handbook (18 pages; PDF)
Reference the Planner’s Checklist to Manage Your Projects (1 page; PDF)
The Handbook by Phase
Introduction, Instructions and Legend (Pgs. 1-2)
Phase 1: A Consensual Hallucination (Pgs. 3-4)
Form the team that will run the response
Get the Start Agreement (MS WORD)
Phase 2: The Wrong Right Answer (Pgs. 5-6)
Craft a true problem statement
Phase 3: Yes Means Yes (Pgs. 7-8)
Create a network of all actors
Phase 4: Mysterious Ways (Pgs. 9-10)
Define the commander’s strategic approach
Phase 5: Three Choice Courses (Pgs. 11-12)
Design multiple methods to reach the goal
Phase 6: Code Response DNA (Pgs. 13-14)
Assign responsibility and support it
Phase 7: Prime Cognition (Pgs. 15-16)
Prepare the leaders to lead
Leadership Under Stress Handout (PDF)
Implement the Plan Worksheet (MS WORD)
Decision Aid Evaluation Criteria (PDF)
Example Threat Response Guide Sections (PDF)
Get the Threat Response Guides securely on CDC’s Epi-X system
Three Column Checklist Sample (MS WORD) and Atul Gawande Checklist for Checklists (PDF)
Operational Timeline Sample (PPT)
Phase 8: Think in the Thick (Pgs. 17-18)
Decide to plan during a crisis
References (Pgs. 19-21)