News‎ > ‎

Prepare in a Year: Communications Plan

posted Jan 29, 2021, 10:50 AM by Ramona Wheeler   [ updated Jan 29, 2021, 11:04 AM ]
Making a phone call to family or friends may not be possible after disaster strikes. Social media and texting can make a difference connecting with loved ones and letting others know you are safe.

The task for January is a focus on family and how to prepare for communication contingencies.

In the event of a large-scale emergency, you could be anywhere: home, work, school, or on the road, and not with all members of your household. Local phone lines may not work due to the number of people trying to make local calls, or phones have been bounced "off the hook" during an event. Phone lines could be overwhelmed for hours.

1. Facebook offers Crisis Response to check in and check on others at:  

2. Red Cross offers the Safe and Well website, which is a secure and private option at:

3. Also, check out other mobile apps offered by the American Red Cross, at:

Crucial: Have an Out-of-Area Contact
An out-of-area contact is someone who lives at least 100 miles away from you, as long distance phone calls are more likely to go through in a local disaster. This person can be the contact for all of your immediate family members to call, to provide information about their location and how they are doing.

Make sure that your out-of-area contact knows you have designated him or her with this task and that all family members know how to reach the contact person. Consider creating a card with information about your out-of-area contact, for each member of your household to carry at all times (purse, wallet, backpack). Let your out-of-area contact also know the name of all the people you want contacted and informed of your situation, should a disaster occur. 

Contact Card template is available (pg 4) in the Prepare in a Year Guide.

Practice is Important! Conduct a communication drill to ensure your plan and all methods of communication are working. Information that your out-of-area contact will want to collect:
  1. Who called
  2. The date/time they called
  3. Their current status - If injured, how they are injured
  4. Their current location and if they intend on relocating
  5. When they plan to call again with an update
Coming up: Next month we will explore ideas on how to Create an Action Plan.