Do 1 Thing: Family Communication Plan

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By Cate Shockey

This blog is part of a series, covering a preparedness topic each month from the Do 1 Thing Program . Join us this month as we discuss family communication plans.

For Do 1 Thing this month, it was time to sit down and create a family communication plan. The point is to be able to communicate with family members during a disaster.

On vacation with my family this month, we discussed how we would stay in touch in an emergency situation. Local phone calls can be overloaded in an emergency, so it’s important to choose a person that lives outside of the area to call if you’re not able to reach each other. Because I live in a different state than my family members, it was easy to decide that I would be their out of state contact, and my parents would be mine.

The next step was entering ‘in case of emergency’ numbers (ICE) into our phones. If you are hurt and unable to use your phone, first responders can call your ICE contact for you.

Here are a few things you can do this month to make sure you can stay connected toyour family in an emergency:

  • With the prevalence of social media, many people have found that the best way to communicate in the chaos of an emergency is to check in with others on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. In 2012, the American Red Cross reported that three out of four Americans (76 percent) expect help in less than three hours of posting a request on social media and 40% of those surveyed said they would use social tools to tell others they are safe (up from 24% in 2011).
  • Fill out a family communication plan at Keep a copy of your plan in your emergency supply kit or another safe place where you can access it in the event of a disaster.
  • Keep a car charger for your cell phone in your car. That way, if the power goes out, you can still charge your phone.
  • Remember that if your call won’t go through in an emergency, a text message might. Make sure everyone in your family knows how to send and receive text messages.
  • The American Red Cross Safe and Well website helps families keep in touch during a disaster. In an emergency, visit the website and enter your information as well as find information on others.

Check out Do 1 Thing for more tips and information, and start putting your plans in place for unexpected events. Are YOU ready?

Leave a Comment! Do you have a family communication plan? Have you ever had to use it?

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Page last reviewed: July 31, 2013
Page last updated: July 31, 2013