Call Me: A Family Communications Plan
One of the scariest parts of a disaster is not knowing where your loved ones may be, how they are, or how you’ll find them. This to me is one of the biggest blessings of having a family communications plan. When your family emergency plan is coupled with a communications plan you have prepared a foundation that will bring the ultimate peace and greatest resilience.
Shelle and I got really lucky last fall to attend an emergency preparedness conference. The biggest surprise for us was the number of classes on Social Media. Usually we don’t think of that as a valid tool for emergency preparedness let alone emergency management. After attending a few of their classes my view of social media changed drastically.
Tools like Twitter and Facebook have become the number 1 way that news travels including disaster news. In fact in the Japan and Virginia earthquakes last year Twitter warnings reached people BEFORE the earthquake waves! Who would think Twitter could save your life!
Social Media is also how emergency management teams have started to track disasters, their damage, and study them. Lastly Facebook is a how most people keep tabs on loved ones. Using the Red Cross Apps toolkit’s “I’m Safe” tab allows you to use your social media accounts, text messaging and email to send a customized message about how and where you are, all in one shot!
This is the old fashioned form of social media. As an emergency communications plan it means that one out of state phone call insures that everyone is contacted.
Its simple: Everyone in the family contacts the out of state designated caller. This person is able to give an up date on everyone who has yet to call in, and how everyone is doing. They are the central source of information.
After all reports have been made their job is to spread the news to any who need to know, as illustrated in the infographic. Since everything goes through them, local lines are free for emergency calls and you are free to deal with the emergency.
Designate how frequently everyone reports back to that contact until reunited (hourly, half hour, etc), and then check in daily with any updates on how conditions, health or needs have changed. Be sure that your contact has a copy of your family emergency plan. This means they will literately be able to track your family as they check in throughout the process.
With this plan in place you can rest assured that you’ll know where, and how, everyone is doing as you carryout your family emergency plan. When used together, your family communications plan and family emergency plan helps your out of state contact to act like the director of a well run play.
Just think, it’s a family drama.