This article from FEMA as part of National Preparedness Month has some great insights.
Locating Loved Ones
Have you ever thought about how you will communicate with and locate your loved ones in the event of a disaster? You never know where you will be or with whom you will be when a disaster strikes. This week, the focus for National Preparedness Month is, “How to Reconnect with Family After a Disaster.” Use this time to build a family communications plan. Your priority will be to get to a safe place, contact your loved ones and reunite with them as soon as possible. The best course of action is to have a plan for each of the common locations where you spend most of your time – home, work, gym, or place of worship.
Below are some tips on how to get in contact with your loved ones in an emergency.
- Complete a contact card for each member of your family and have them placed in purses, wallets and book bags;
- Have a contact that does not live in your area that each family member can notify when they are safe if unable to contact family in the affected area. An out-of-area contact may be in a better position to communicate among separated family members;
- Remember you can use text messaging when calling does not work because phone lines commonly have network disruptions after disasters; and
- In addition to text messaging, use social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter, to alert family members that you are safe. You can also use the American Red Cross’s Safe and Well program.
Check out America’s PrepareAthon! to participate in other drills and exercises with your family, and practice the communications plan you just developed as part of National Preparedness Month.
Here is a real-world example, watch the movie:
With two autistic children ages three and five, Abby’s life revolves around her family’s routine. Between therapies, school and gymnastics, she manages over 30 appointments a week. She says, “Routine is everything to autistic kids. It reduces their anxiety.” On a warm day in May 2013, Abby saw the routine she had carefully constructed destroyed by an EF-5 tornado that devastated Moore, Oklahoma and neighboring Oklahoma City.
Although forecasts that day called for severe weather, Abby and her husband wanted to take advantage of a rare day off and went to a movie. She says, “We thought, we are going to a movie, it is two hours, [it’s] not even raining outside, if something is going to get bad then it will get bad later tonight.” About halfway through the movie, Abby got a call from the daycare center across the street from where her children were playing—a tornado was coming and they were evacuating the children to a storm shelter.
- How did Abby and her husband get to their children?
- Did they have a family communications plan?
- Were they prepared for a tornado?
Find out what happened by watching the latest .”