Did you know that September is National Preparedness Month? Ready.gov has a stockpile of helpful links and resources to help you get and stay prepared, and so do we! Be sure to follow along with our upcoming articles for this month, and check out our site to get more conversations going for the #PrepareAthon ! We're excited to bring you information to keep your family safe and prepared.
Whether you're preparing for a natural disaster or an SHTF scenario, every family needs an Emergency Communication Plan. Disaster can strike at any time which means chances are your family won't be all together when it happens. You as well as each of your family members need to have a plan. The goal is to plan for everything but you also have to make your plan simple, easy to remember, and easy to follow.
Step 1 - Collect Information For A Plan
In order to make a plan, it's imperative you collect all of the pertinent information. Write down phone numbers and email addresses for everyone in your household. Write down phone numbers and EMP Steps for you and your family members work, school, daycare, and caregivers. You should also write down phone numbers for emergency services, utilities, service providers, medical providers, veterinarians, insurance companies, and other services.
Step 2 - Choose Emergency Meeting Places
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, in your neighborhood or community, outside of your neighborhood, and outside of your town or city.
Step 3 - Assemble and Share
Make a physical copy for every person in your family to refer to in case of an emergency. Everyone should carry a copy in their wallet, purse, backpack, etc. Enter all emergency information into each members cell phones and other devices. Store at least one emergency contact under the name “In Case of Emergency” or “ICE” for all mobile phones and devices. This will help someone identify your emergency contact if needed. Inform your emergency contact of any medical issues or other requirements you may have.
Step 4 - Practice Makes Perfect
Once you have completed your Family Emergency Communication Plan, made copies for all the members of your household, and discussed it, it’s time to practice! Do practice scenarios, quiz your children on where to find the emergency plan or scenarios on what to do. Whatever works for your family is great, but you will have more success if you practice and train for the event under everyday circumstances.
Step 5 - Be Flexible
The saying is if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. With that said every plan will have some adjustments to be made. Over the course of time, remember to update your plan periodically, and if the time arrises to use your plan be sure to fix things that may need more smoothing out after the fact.
Step 6 - How to Communicate
In the event of a car wreck or localized situation, cell phones are great way for fast communication to family and emergency personnel. In a more wide spread disaster, cell towers may be jammed and only texts and emails will make it through. But, if all of those avenues are down be sure to have a back up form of communication. Hand held radios are great for close range between family members. HAM radios are reliable and allow you to communicate over longer distances and do not rely on cell towers. CB radios can also cover good distances but are not always as effective as HAM. Listen only radios with a hand crank are also a great resource to stay up to date on pertinent news and they won't fail you when the power is out.
So get the ball rolling, start organizing those important contacts and be sure you'll have the peace of mind when disaster strikes. Don't forget to tag #PrepareAthon and #SurvivalHax in your preparation conversations, we'd love to hear what works for you and your family!