Pledge To Make a Communications Plan
Making a Plan
After you have learned about different hazards and how to react to them, you need to have a plan. It isn't "good enough" to have a plan verbalized; you should write it down and be sure that every family member has a copy. Your plan should include the following:
- A meeting location, both near your home and outside of your neighborhood, where your family will all go if communications are knocked out.
- An out of town family member or friend that everyone will call to check in with following a disaster if your family is separated. The further away this contact is, the better since it is usually easier to make long distance calls following a disaster. Make sure this contact person knows their role during a disaster ahead of time!
- Make sure all family members know how to send SMS/text messages if their cell phones have the capability. Many times when phone lines get overloaded, an SMS message has a better chance of being delivered than a voice call does. The other advantage is that when you receive an SMS, you don't have to remember or write down the message; it is already stored in your phone for future reference.
- Have multiple methods of receiving emergency information through Teton County's Emergency Alert System (EAS).
- Important information for all family members including copies of birth certificates, social security cards, and information on medical conditions.
- Policy numbers for health, homeowner's/renter's, and vehicle insurance.
- Important phone numbers such as family physician, your pet's veterinarian, insurance agents, etc
- Don't forget your pets! Red Cross shelters cannot accept animals due to health and hygiene issues. You need to plan ahead of time where you will shelter your pet if you must evacuate. Call around to see which hotels nearby are "pet friendly", or check on kennels in the area. Discuss options with your veterinarian, and remember to never leave your pets behind!
- Your plan should also include a map of your home with at least 2 escape routes from every room.
Download a simple two page family disaster plan template (PDF), or view an Excel version of the same template (XLS). It covers the items listed above, and also gives you cards to cut out and give to each family member. You can also go to Ready.gov's "Make A Plan" site to learn more.
Check on plans at school and at work in the event of a disaster. If there aren't any in place, suggest making a simple plan for work that includes emergency contact information for employees, a notification phone tree, maps of your workplace with evacuation routes, and a meeting place near your work location should an evacuation be necessary.