Locating family members and loved ones after a disaster is an anxiety producing and stressful experience. Creating an emergency communication plan for you and your family can help alleviate some of that potential stress. Remember, communication through traditional means may be difficult or limited following a disaster. Learn about the tools and resources available post-disaster to help you find individuals and let family members know you are safe.
Building an emergency communication plan before an emergency occurs will help ensure everyone in your family knows how to contact one another in the event of separation during a disaster. Consider the following when putting together your emergency communication plan:
Access an emergency communication plan template here.
A kid friendly version of the communication plan is also available.
Following a disaster traditional communication methods, including landlines and cellular networks, may not be available. Consider alternative means of communication to connect with loved ones and let them know you are safe. Text messages are the best means of direct communication after a disaster. A text will get through easier than a call, and does not tie up cellular lines needed by emergency responders. Short status updates on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter are also more likely to go through than phone calls. Other resources, such as the Red Cross’s Safe and Well service, help survivors of disasters reunite and list themselves “safe” in a national registry accessible by anyone in the country. Vist Safe and Well service for more information.
During a disaster, pets can easily become separated from the rest of the family. Take preventative action to protect your pets by keeping them in carriers or on a harness and leash to stop them from running away. Microchipping your pet is also a useful tool, one that increases the likelihood of reunification if separation should occur. Add contact information for your vet, nearby kennels, and local animal shelters to your emergency communication plan in case you need to reach one of them following a disaster.