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For All-Hazard Disaster Preparedness — COVID-19 Rocks!

In the general population, disaster preparedness is episodic.

Now is the time to capitalize on the oncoming coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. With warning time, the average person or organization will take steps to become prepared for a disaster that is on the horizon, be it a hurricane or a pandemic. Y2K was one of those events that got many, many people who had done nothing, to take some steps to become better prepared for a disaster.

For disasters, you have to give people instructions on what they can do proactively to prepare themselves. This "activity-based" messaging will help them both physically and psychologically get through an event. I always say, "The mental to the physical is as 3 is to 1." The physical act of becoming prepared will lessen the worry that is sure to descend on many.

Now is a great time to leverage that energy, be it worry or concern, for positive disaster preparedness activities. Here on the West Coast where the "normal" disaster preparedness message is to "be prepared for two weeks, and not three days," this COVID-19 is a godsend for more extensive preparedness among people and organizations. 

Eric Holdeman is a contributing writer for Emergency Management magazine and is the former director of the King County, Wash., Office of Emergency Management.