Preparing for disasters and emergencies helps everyone in the family accept the possibility that a disaster can happen. Having an emergency plan helps reduce anxiety and stress in an emergency situation.  One important component in any emergency plan is a communications plan. It is essential that family members know how to contact and meet up with one another.

Create an Emergency Communications Plan

Choose an out-of-town contact that each family member will call, text, or e-mail to check-in should family members be separated when a disaster occurs. The selected contact should live far enough away that they would unlikely be directly affected by the same event. The contact must know and understand his or her role in the family’s emergency plan.

To facilitate this process, print the blank communications cards and fill them out.  Give the completed cards to every family member and the out-of-town contact.  By folding the cards in half, they can easily be carried in a wallet, purse, or backpack. Leave these contact numbers at work and at children’s schools.  Remind family members to try all modes of communication until they reach their contact person.  This includes cell phone, land phone lines, and e-mail.

Print a Family Emergency Communications Card below.

Emergency Broadcasts

During an emergency or disaster, it is important to get instructions from officials about what you should do to respond.  These instructions may include information on evacuating, sheltering in place, or limiting water usage.  Because of the potential loss of electricity during an emergency, it is necessary to have a battery powered portable radio or TV and extra batteries.

In the event of an emergency, radios should be tuned to one of the Emergency Alert Stations for official Federal Government announcements, instructions or additional information.