MAKE A PLAN
Creating your Family Emergency Communication Plan starts with one simple question: “What if?” “What if something happens and I’m not with my family?” “Will I be able to reach them?” “How will I know they are safe?” “How can I let them know I’m OK?” During a disaster, you will need to send and receive information from your family.
Communication networks, such as mobile phones and computers, could be unreliable during disasters, and electricity could be disrupted. Planning in advance will help ensure that all the members of your household—including children and people with disabilities and others with access and functional needs, as well as outside caregivers—know how to reach each other and where to meet up in an emergency. Planning starts with three easy steps:
How to Communicate With Family in an Emergency
Set up a calling tree.
It is important to identify someone outside of your community or State who can act as a central point of contact to help your household reconnect. In a disaster, it may be easier to make a long-distance phone call than to call across town because local phone lines can be jammed.
Emergency Meeting Place
Decide on safe, familiar places where your family can go for protection or to reunite. Make sure these locations are accessible for household members with disabilities or access and functional needs. If you have pets or service animals, think about animal-friendly locations. Identify the following places:
Indoor: If you live in an area where tornadoes, hurricanes, or other high-wind storms can happen, make sure everyone knows where to go for protection. This could be a small, interior, windowless room, such as a closet or bathroom, on the lowest level of a sturdy building, or a tornado safe room or storm shelter
In your neighborhood: This is a place in your neighborhood where your household members will meet if there is a fre or other emergency and you need to leave your home. The meeting place could be a big tree, a mailbox at the end of the driveway, or a neighbor’s house.
Outside of your neighborhood: This is a place where your family will meet if a disaster happens when you’re not at home and you can’t get back to your home. This could be a library, community center, house of worship, or family friend’s home.
Outside of your town or city: Having an out-of-town meeting place can help you reunite if a disaster happens and:
• You cannot get home or to your out-of-neighborhood
meeting place; or
• Your family is not together and your community is instructed
to evacuate the area.
This meeting place could be the home of a relative or family friend. Make sure everyone knows the address of the meeting place and discuss ways you would get there.