Do you know where the closest hurricane safe zone is to your home? Your child's school? Your office?
What about how you would locate family members after an earthquake?
Each week during national preparedness month, we will be focusing on a different topic. This week, we are focusing on how to reconnect with your family, friends, roommates, neighbors, coworkers, and friends after a disaster. It is important to build and practice a family communication plan and urge other groups you are part of to do the same.
It is important to include and work around conveniences that you have right now. Sure, most people carry cell phones. But as previous disasters had shown, networks become inundated with attempted calls right after or during a disaster. SMS or text messaging is slightly more stable, but messages can be delayed for hours or days. You may not have access to email or social media either to get in touch with everyone.
So what can you do?
- Include all methods of communication available to you and others that may be available in your community to add more depth to your plan
- Include an out-of-town contact as an emergency contact
- Create a neighborhood meeting place in case of emergency (an intersection, neighbor's house, or other landmark)
- A Regional meeting place- usually out of town (a family member's or friend's house)
Also make sure that all members of your group have the address, phone number, social media information, and evacuation location information for each other. (ie: kids should have phone number for work places of their parents, parents should know the evacuation location of kids' schools, parents should be able to access the social media feed of eachother's workplace for closure announcements)
During a disaster, get the word out that you are okay via as many methods as possible. If necessary, let others know via all available methods where you are in case of evacuation or relocation.
A Communication Plan worksheet can be found here:
A kit for kids is available here: