Contingency planning aims to prepare an organization to respond well to an emergency and its potential humanitarian impact. Developing a contingency plan involves making decisions in advance about the management of human and financial resources, coordination and communications procedures, and being aware of a range of technical and logistical responses. Such planning is a management tool, involving all sectors, which can help ensure timely and effective provision of humanitarian aid to those most in need when a disaster occurs. Time spent in contingency planning equals time saved when a disaster occurs. Effective contingency planning should lead to timely and effective disaster-relief operations.
The contingency planning process can basically be broken down into three simple questions-
- What is going to happen?
- What are we going to do about it?
- What can we do ahead of time to get prepared?
This guide helps planners think through these questions in a systematic way. Contingency planning is most often undertaken when there is a specific threat or hazard; exactly how that threat will actually impact is unknown. Developing scenarios is a good way of thinking through the possible impacts. On the basis of sensible scenarios it is possible to develop a plan that sets out the scale of the response and the resources needed.
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