Week 3: Make a communications plan

Preparedness Tip #1
Pick a place to meet after a disaster.  Designate two meeting places. Choose one right outside your home, in case of a sudden household emergency, such as a fire. The second place you choose needs to be outside your neighborhood, in the event it is not safe to stay near or return to your home.

Preparedness Tip #2
Choose an emergency contact person outside your area because it may be easier to call long distance than locally after a local/regional disaster. Take a minute now to call or e-mail an out-of-town friend or family member to ask him or her to be your family’s designated contact in the event of an emergency. Be sure to share the contact's phone number with everyone in the family. During an emergency, you can call your contact who can share with other family members where you are; how you are doing; and how to get in touch with you.

Preparedness Tip #3
Go through your calendar now, and put a reminder on it- every six months - to review your plan, update numbers, and check supplies to be sure nothing has expired, spoiled, or changed.  Also remember to practice your tornado, fire escape or other disaster plans.

Preparedness Tip #4
Practice.  Conduct fire drills and practice evacuating your home twice a year. Drive your planned evacuation route and plot alternate routes on a map in case main roads are blocked or gridlocked. Practice earthquake and tornado drills at home, school and work. Commit a weekend to update telephone numbers, emergency supplies and review your plan with everyone.

Preparedness Tip #5
Take a moment to imagine that there is an emergency, like a fire in your home, and you need to leave quickly.  What are the best escape routes from your home? Find at least two ways out of each room. Now, write it down - you’ve got the beginning of a plan.

Preparedness Tip #6
Teach your children how and when to call 9-1-1 or your local Emergency Medical Services number for help. Post these and other emergency telephone numbers by telephones.

Preparedness Tip #7
Make copies of important documents—driver’s licenses, birth certificates, wills, lists of medications, and contact information for doctors, family, friends, and attorneys.  Keep these in a safe place.