About this job aid
FEMA and the American Red Cross produce a wealth of safety- and hazard-related documents. I’ve found Your Family Disaster Supplies Kit in multiple locations; the one here is from the University of North Carolina Wilmington’s emergency and safety information page.
The brochure’s purpose is to organize information to help with advance planning (“…one way to prepare is by assembling a Disaster Supplies Kit…”). There are two main parts:
- A supplies checklist covering items like food, water, clothing, and tools (pages 2 and 3).
- A guide to creating a family disaster plan (page 4).
Who’s the performer?
An individual would use this checklist to choose and organize supplies for a disaster such as a storm, an earthquake, or a spill of hazardous material. While the information is useful in many situations, the job aid is concerned with individuals and their personal safety, rather than with, say, a company’s employees at the workplace.
What’s the accomplishment?
Unlike procedures or decision tables, checklists don’t have a specific outcome. However, a good checklist helps a person to assess whether his planning or preparation is complete compared with the checklist’s elements.
Checks and chunks
Pages 2 and 3 of the brochure provide a checklist of possible supplies to stock. In all, there are more than 80 items set off with squares. I can hardly resist calling them checkboxes, and particularly for a planning guide like this, I think blank boxes are a better choice than, say, filled-in circles.
At the same time, the checklist is not particularly cluttered, as you can see from this cropped image. (I’ve removed the gutter space between the two pages. You can click to enlarge the image.)
The designers have chunked information into six categories: water, food, first aid, tools and supplies, clothing and bedding, and special items. Some sections begin with general advice (“Water: avoid containers that will decompose or break”); there are a few logical subsections, like the four under special items.
In addition to the chunking, the checklist is remarkably detailed for something that measures 6 by 7 inches. For example, I’ve lived in areas with severe weather, and so I always have a radio and a flashlight that I can charge with a hand crank. Not until I moved to an earthquake zone, though, had I considered the value of a whistle. (If you’re trapped by debris, you can signal your presence with much less effort and over a greater distance with a whistle than with your voice.)
One size – fits most?
I found many different forms of disaster-preparation guides, even when I limited my search to earthquake preparation. The topic is so big that you could fill dozens of pager with detailed information.
To me, that’s a reminder: there’s no one right way to create this sort of guide. FEMA and the American Red Cross have done well to label it a disaster supplies kit. Page 4, Create a family disaster plan, is pretty sketchy — but FEMA has many other resources for planning.