Chapter 13. Planning for Various Disaster Scenarios

Natural or man-made disasters throw in wild cards that can make carrying out recovery operations more difficult for your organization. In this chapter, I discuss the primary and secondary effects from a variety of disaster scenarios, and I explain how you can improve your recovery plans for the best chances of success.

Planning for Natural Disasters

Nature can throw a lot of surprises that make planning, rescue, and recovery operations difficult. Violent natural events can directly effect property and equipment, and they can also have secondary effects on communications and transportation systems, which hamper recovery efforts and may have greater impact than the event itself.


Earthquakes strike with little or no warning and cause widespread damage. The violent side-to-side motion in an earthquake can cause considerable damage to buildings, equipment, and IT systems. Earthquakes often damage transportation infrastructure, particularly bridges and elevated roadways in large cities, requiring extensive repairs that can take weeks or months to complete.

Generally speaking, earthquakes occur in areas with a history of them. An earthquake rarely strikes an area that doesn't have prior earthquake history.

Transportation considerations

When a major earthquake strikes a city, people will be spending the next several hours wherever they happen to be at the time. Transportation is usually the hardest hit infrastructure, particularly ...

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