When disaster strikes, your family may not be together.
It’s important to plan in advance how you will get in touch with each other, how you will get back together, and what you will do in different scenarios.
- OUT OF TOWN CONTACT: Identify an out-of town contact. An out-of-town contact can help communicate among separated family members.
- IN CASE OF EMERGENCY CONTACT: Designate a local emergency contact or contacts. Be sure every member of your family knows the emergency contact’s phone number and has a cell phone, change, or a prepaid phone card to call the emergency contact. If you have a cell phone, program that person(s) as "ICE" (In Case of Emergency) in your phone. If you are in an accident, emergency personnel will often check your ICE listings in order to get a hold of someone you know. Make sure to tell your family and friends that you’ve listed them as emergency contacts.
- LEARN HOW TO TEXT MESSAGE: Teach family members how to use text messaging (also knows as SMS or Short Message Service). Text messages can often get around network disruptions when a phone call might not be able to get through.
Stay or Evacuate
Depending on your circumstances and the nature of the emergency, the first important decision is whether you stay where you are or evacuate; plan for both possibilities. Use available information from the TV, radio, or internet to determine if there is an immediate danger and what the official instruction is. If you determine you are going to stay put or shelter in place, click here for further information.
Developing a Family Emergency Plan
Click here to create a Family Emergency Plan using a new online tool created by the Ready Campaign, a national public service advertising campaign designed to educate and empower Americans to prepare for and respond to emergencies including natural and man-made disasters.
Assemble a printable quick reference list of contact information for your family and a meeting place for emergency situations at http://ready.adcouncil.org/beprepared/quickshare.html.
Emergency Plans Outside the Home
Inquire about emergency plans at places where your family spends time including work, daycare and school. If no plans exist, think about volunteering to help create one. Talk to your neighbors about how you can work together in the event of an emergency.
Remember, preparedness is everyone's job.
March 18, 2010