Typical Prepping

The Family Emergency Communications Plan

January 05, 2021 Keith Thomas Season 1 Episode 2
Typical Prepping
The Family Emergency Communications Plan
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

On This Episode:

Making a family emergency plan is by far the most important part of your overall emergency disaster planning.

 If a disaster or emergency were to strike, Do you have a Plan?

 If you have children, who will pick them up from school? Will that be Mom, Dad, or both? Will you pick up the children and meet at home? If your family or household gets separated, how will you contact one another? How/where will you reconnect? If the emergency makes your home unsafe and you must evacuate, do you have a backup meeting place?

These are a few of the questions and concerns we’ll be discussing in today’s episode.

Key Topics:

  • How will you receive emergency alerts or warnings?
  • What’s your evacuation plan?
  • What’s your shelter plan?
  • What's your family communications plan?


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The Family Emergency Communications Plan

Making a family emergency plan is by far the most important part of your overall emergency disaster planning. If a disaster or emergency were to strike, especially on weekdays in the middle of the day, when parents and adults or work and children are in school, do you have a plan? If you have children in school who will pick them up with a big mom or dad or both? Will that be grandma, grandpa, or another relative? Will you pick the children up and meet back at home? If your Family or Household gets separated? How will you contact one another? How or where will you reconnect? If the emergency makes your home unsafe and you have to evacuate? Do you have a backup meeting place?

These are a few of the questions and concerns we'll be discussing in today's episode.

Welcome to typical prepping the podcast dedicated to everyday readiness and disaster preparedness. We're here to help those folks who seek to start their own disaster preparedness plan or those who have gotten started but are not quite sure where or how to take the next steps. Each week, I'll present a disaster preparedness topic with actionable tips and strategies that you can implement to start or grow your personal disaster preparations. Thanks for stopping by to listen today.

Hi, I'm Keith Thomas, and welcome to typical prepping. Today's episode starts a three-part series on building an emergency preparedness plan for your family. We'll cover the family emergency communication plan, financial disaster planning, and wrap up the series with how to build your disaster emergency kit.

The first step in creating a family communication plan is to sit down with all the members of the family to conduct a meeting to discuss these very questions. This meeting is a great way to open dialogue among family members on the topic of disaster preparedness, and today we'll discuss these questions and considerations for making your plan. Keep in mind that your communication plan should be tailored to your particular family and situation. This is especially important for families with small children and babies, the elderly, and those with special needs. Keep in mind that the answers to these questions I give you are useful in starting your plan. However, the answers I give you today are somewhat vague and simplistic.

There may be other considerations in your personal situation that must be taken into account. Before you can answer the question. By all means, add or just your answers and your plan to fit your personal situation or geography. Now let's get started by answering our first question;

1. How will you receive emergency alerts and warnings?

So that's the three most common ways of receiving emergency alerts and warnings.

So let's move to our next question, which is;

2. What is your evacuation plan?

If you need to evacuate, you need to decide where you're going to go. This could be a hotel or motel a safe distance away, the home of friends or relatives a safe distance away, or it could be an emergency evacuation shelter. Regardless of the option you choose, you should plot out the route that you will take to get there.

Be sure to plot alternate routes on your map in case roads are impassable. Make sure you have locations and maps saved on devices such as cell phones and GPS units. And I would advise you to keep a paper map just in case your battery's rundown on your cell phone, or your GPS is unable to receive a signal.
Now let's move on to our next question.

3. What is your shelter plan? 

Within the shelter plan, there are three ways that we could possibly take shelter. And these would be stay at home, mass care shelter, or sheltering in place. Let's talk about the first one.

1. To stay at home.

We all should have gotten pretty good at the stay at home sheltering plan over the past year. Stay at home sheltering would include pandemics. You want to remain indoors as much as possible and try to only leave your home when necessary. You may still be able to use outdoor spaces such as patios, porches, in yards. Outdoor activities, such as walking, jogging, and exercise may be fine. When you're outside, try not to touch anything such as light signals, poles, signs, playground, equipment, benches, and so forth. Because viruses can remain on certain services for multiple hours. Essential services such as grocery shopping, the gas station, pharmacies, and going to the post office should still be fine to do, And, limit visitors if possible. You want to try to use video chatting and call people that you would normally text.

The next type of shelter that we'll talk about is the mass care shelter. Mass care shelters provide life-sustaining services to disaster survivors.
Even though mass care shelters often provide water, food, medicine, and basic sanitary facilities, you should plan to take your emergency supply kit with you. So you'll have the supplies that you need. Mass care sheltering can involve living with many people in a confined space, which can be difficult and unpleasant. And be sure to check with local officials about what sheltering spaces are available.

And then the last type of sheltering we'll talk about is sheltering in place. Whether you're at home, work, or anywhere else you frequent regularly, there might be situations when it's best to stay where you are and avoid any uncertainty outside. Here are some steps to take if the situation arises.

Use common sense and available information to assess the situation and determine if there's an immediate danger. If you see large amounts of debris in the air, or if local authorities say the air is badly contaminated, you may want to take this kind of action. Here are some tips for sheltering in place. First off, local authorities may not immediately be able to provide information on what is happening and what you should do. Watch TV, listen to the radio or check the Internet often for official news and instructions as they become available. Be sure to bring your family and pets inside. Lock the doors, close windows, closed off air vents and fireplace dampers, turn off fans air conditioning, and forced-air heating systems. Take your emergency supply kit unless you have reason to believe it has been contaminated. Go into an interior room with few windows and seal all windows, doors, and air vents with thick plastic sheeting and duct tape and consider measuring and cutting the sheets in advance to save time. Obviously, we're talking about some type of chemical release with sheltering in place. Some more tips, cut the plastic sheeting several inches wider than the openings and label each sheet. When you place this plastic barrier over the windows and doors. Duct Tape the plastic at the corners first and then tape down all the edges sealing the plastic. Be prepared to improvise and use what you have on hand to seal gaps so that you create a barrier between yourself and any contamination. Sealing a room is considered a temporary protective measure to create a barrier between you and potentially contaminated outside air. This type of sheltering in place requires pre-planning by purchasing plastic sheeting and duct tape that you would keep in your emergency supply kit. Now we've answered the first three of our four questions.

Our last question was do you have a family communication plan? 

To build your family communication plan. The first thing we need to do is to compile information. You'll need to write down phone numbers and email addresses for everyone in your household. Having this information written down will help you reconnect with others. In case you don't have your mobile device or computer with you or if the battery runs down.

Because a disaster can strike during school or work hours, you need to know the emergency response plans for your schools, childcare, caregivers, and workplaces.

Discuss these plans with children and let them know who could pick them up in an emergency. Make sure your household members with phones are signed up for alerts and warnings from their school workplace and/or local government. It is also important to identify someone outside your community or state who can act as a central point of contact to help your household reconnect. In a disaster, it might be easier to make a long-distance phone call than to call across town because local phone lines can be jammed. You also need to decide on safe familiar places where your family can go for protection or to reunite.

 An indoor meeting place. If you live in an area where tornadoes, hurricanes, or other high wind storms can happen. Make sure everyone knows where to go for protection. This could be a small interior windowless room, such as a closet or bathroom on the lowest level of a sturdy building, or a tornado safe room, storm shelter, or basement. The next one is a meeting place in your neighborhood. This is a place in your neighborhood where your household members will meet. If there's a fire or other emergency, and you need to leave your home. The meeting place could be a big tree, a mailbox at the end of the driveway, or a neighbor's home. The next meeting place would be outside of your neighborhood.

This could be a library community center, House of Worship, or a family friend's home. The next meeting place would be somewhere outside of your town or city. Having an out of town meeting place can help you reunite if a disaster happens and you cannot get home or to your out of neighborhood meeting place or your family is not together and your community is instructed to evacuate the area.

This meeting place could be the home of a relative or family friend or even your out of town contact.

Make copies of your family emergency communication plan for each member of the household to carry in his or her wallet, backpack, or purse. And these can be smaller wallet cards. Post a copy in a central place at home and regularly check to make sure your household members are carrying their playing with him. And to make this easier in the show notes you can find a link to PDF copies of wallet cards and eight and a half by 11-inch forms for you to fill out. And I think a lot of this information will make more sense once you look at the forms and the wallet cards. Another way to share your information is to make sure that everyone in the household enters household and emergency contact information into their mobile phones or devices. Be sure to store at least one emergency contact under the name "In Case of Emergency" or "ICE" for all mobile phones and devices. This will help someone identify your emergency contact if needed. Inform your emergency contact of any medical issues or other requirements you may have. You can create a group list on all mobile phones and devices of the people you would need to communicate with if there was an emergency or disaster.

Make sure all household members and your out of town contact know how to text if they have a mobile phone or device or know alternative ways to communicate.

If they are unable to text.  Then the last step we're going to take in putting together our family communication plan is to practice.

Be creative and find ways to practice your family emergency plan. You know with small children, you may be able to turn some activities into a game with older children and adults, do a simulated walkthrough of your plan.

Remember to keep in mind that your communication plan should be tailored to your particular family and situation. 

Well, that's going to do it for this episode. Thanks for listening. Join me on next week's episode, where I'll be discussing financial disaster preparedness.

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Transcribed by https://otter.ai

Episode Introduction
Receiving Emergency Alerts & Warnings
What Is Your Evacuation Plan?
What Is Your Sheltering Plan?
Creating a Family Communications Plan
Compiling Household Information
Out of Town Contact
Emergency Meeting Places
Sharing Your Information
Practicing Your Plan