This paper is a non-comprehensive literature review on the state of social science research on disasters, with particular focus on the phases of preparedness and response. It provides guidance on the processes of planning, education, warnings, evacuations, and post-disaster response, based in empirical evidence from previous work. The synthesis provides a resource for additional sources on disaster research. This paper emphasizes the importance of preparedness being a continual process and plans being living documents, while also recognizing that preparedness is rare in households. It also considers the implications of repeat disasters in forming a “disaster subculture,” or disaster becoming an accepted way of life.