Safety and Emergency Items for Real People - People with Real Budgets and Real, Busy Lives


Phones at Thanksgiving dinner? Yes, yes, yes! Here's why...

Jennifer Piper

Hint: It's got nothing to do with the camera.

Young adults and their parents at Thanksgiving dinner table

What are you most thankful for? 

I'd venture a guess it's probably more of a "who" than a "what."

That's what makes Thanksgiving such an appropriate time to take five minutes to make sure you can reach your loved ones in case of emergency.

Did you know that in a catastrophic emergency such as the aftermath of a major earthquake, it is expected that texting or calling out of the affected area will be a lot more successful than within the area? 

This means you and your husband across town might not be able to contact each other, but you might both be able to reach Uncle Chuck in Pennsylvania.Aaron's Uncle Chuck photo

In the chaos of a disaster you need to be able to make good decisions. It's hard to make good decisions when you're frantic about your loved ones' safety. That's why emergency planning experts prioritize developing a communication plan with your family. 

If you have a lot of extra time on your hands, see FEMA's Family Emergency Communication Planning Document. If you and your family are more typical in the demands on your time, do this...

This Thanksgiving when everyone is gathered around the table, take the opportunity to decide on an out-of-state contact to report your safety and your whereabouts.

Make sure everyone has the right number in their phones. You could even test the number with a long-distance "Happy Thanksgiving!" message to Uncle Chuck.

You should also get everyone to write down the name and number and stick it in their wallets, just in case. 

Printable wallet cards from

You may end up being very thankful you did.


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