Last week I covered five ways to reunite with your family in the wake of a disaster. One of those ways was to create your communication plan. This post will teach you how to write a basic emergency communication plan. I’ll even give you a downloadable communication plan template.
In the spirit of keeping things quickly digestible for my busy audience, I’ll make this short.
A communication plan just tells all the family members where to meet or who to contact in case of a disaster. You can do it however it makes sense for your family, but in my template I split it up into where to meet:
- In your neighborhood
- In your town but outside of your neighborhood
- In your region but outside of your town
- Outside of your region
That way, if you can’t get home, or to your town, or you need to get out of the region, you’ll always have a place to meet.
My emergency contact template is specifically for out-of-state contacts. This is because many times in a disaster, the local lines are overloaded. If you can’t reach your local loved ones by phone, try texting them, which takes a lot less bandwidth. If that doesn’t work, call or text your out-of-state contacts. If you all have the same out-of-state contacts listed in your phone or on paper (or memorized), you’ll be able to check in with each other via those contacts.
Many out-of-state contact templates only have space for one branch of the family. That may work for a family who cares only about getting in touch with the immediate household members; for example, has no local extended family. For many families, however, you will want to check on extended family in multiple branches of the family. In our case, for example, we want to be able to check on my parents and my sisters and their families, my husband’s parents and sisters and their families, and my daughter’s extended biological family. So my template includes space for three family branches.
Once you have this filled out, print out enough for each child’s backpack, each vehicle, the home desk, and any other place that seems appropriate. I recommend putting them in Ziploc bags for the backpacks!