Develop A Family Communication Plan
The ability to communicate with family members during a disaster is of the utmost importance. You will need to know where your family members are and if they are safe.
When a disaster strikes, people are forced by the nature of the event to leave home, work, or where ever they are at the time, to find shelter at another location or to evacuate to a location far away from where family members are.
During Hurricane Katrina, people from New Orleans and other affected areas were evacuated to other cities in other states, some as far away as Utah, California, Texas, Tennessee, and Missouri.
Parents were separated from their children and it took days and in some cases weeks for people to locate and reunite with family members.
It was a learning experience for FEMA, as well as with federal, state, and local agencies. It became apparent that all families should have a plan in place at all times just in case a disaster strikes.
Your family may not be together when disaster strikes, so plan how you will contact one another and review what you will do in different situations.
Consider a plan where each family member calls, or e-mails, the same friend or relative in the event of an emergency.
It may be easier to make a long-distance phone call than to call across town, so an out-of-town contact, not in the impacted area, may be in a better position to communicate among separated family members. You may have trouble getting through, or the phone system, may be down altogether, but be patient.
Your family plan should include the addresses and telephone numbers of relatives, not just in your town or area, but of relatives who live in other, towns, cities, and states. Your children should be required to memorize your phone number and the addresses and phone numbers of other family members just in case they get separated from you.
For more information on how to develop a family communications plan, visit www.ready.gov.
Listed below are talking points developed by FEMA that will help you in making you and your family as prepared as possible if there is a disaster in the area in which you live.
(2) Be informed
(9) Emergency kit
(10) Emergency money
(11) Fire safety
(12) Get involved
(14) Important documents
(15) Make a plan
(16) Medical supplies
(18) Stay or go
(21) Working together
Preparing Makes Sense. Get Ready Now.
Information was developed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in consultation with AARP, the American Red Cross and the National Organization on Disability.
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