Whether it's an act of nature like a hurricane, or a human disaster like a terrorist attack, the results are often the same.
There's destruction, evacuations and people who are suddenly homeless and unable to provide for their most basic necessities.
The American Red Cross is one of the main agencies that help in any kind of disaster, but Red Cross workers say there are ways you can prepare for the worst.
Several emergency agencies are getting ready for National Preparedness month in September. Locally, preparedness events will be held at the Panama City Mall.
Bob Pearce, the Executive Director of the Panhandle Chapter of The American Red Cross, says preparedness is the key.
"People need to take a few minutes now and make an evacuation plan and put together their disaster kit, the things they need to have and do to make sure their family is safe in the event we are faced with an emergency."
Key is most people's minds this time of the year is hurricane season. It’s been fairly quiet so far, but a major storm could erupt with very little notice.