Do you have a family communications plan?
One of the first things that will fail in a disaster is communications. Unfortunately, it is one thing you will need most following a disaster. Most families are separated during the day and sometimes in the evening. With parents working, kids going to school and their after school activities, we are rarely together at all times.
You already know how important it is to have emergency supplies on hand. You should have emergency kits that can be picked up and are ready to grab and go. Emergency food and water are a must.
If disaster strikes though, how will you be able to communicate with your spouse or child if their phone is down? Establish a family disaster preparedness emergency communications plan.
Establish one outside family member or friend who does not live in the local area to be the point of contact for your family.
If all of your family knows to call Aunt Mary in Tucson if they can’t reach you, Aunt Mary can be the one person they can reach to get word that you are OK and where everyone is.
She becomes the go-between of information. You can’t reach anyone at the school to find out if the kids are OK, but the kids were able to use another phone to call Aunt Mary. Aunt Mary lives out of the local area so she should not be affected by the disaster.
This is very important. Write Aunt Mary’s phone number down and put it in the kids’ backpack.
What if all communications are down?
Plan a meeting place that you all can get to. Your home is usually the one place everyone knows to go, but what if it is destroyed or not accessible? Establish an alternative meeting place away from buildings and other hazards. Maybe meet at a park, parking lot, or some other place that may be accessible and not hazardous.
There are no 100% correct answers in disaster planning, but having a family communications plan and practicing it with your family will give you a leg up if disaster strikes.
Having a way for your family to find each other after an emergency is crucial. What about a Home Emergency Plan? Do you have one? An Emergency Preparedness Plan should always be the foundation of your Emergency Preparedness program.