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Family Emergency Planning

July 24, 2012

You never know when an emergency will happen, and your family may not be together when disaster strikes.  Planning how you will contact one another is a vital part of emergency preparedness.  Depending on the type of emergency, phone service and power may not be available, so make sure you think about how you will communicate in different situations.  Consider the following family communication tips:

Identify a contact, such as a friend or relative who lives out-of-state, and have household members notify this person they are safe in an emergency. It may be easier to make a long-distance phone call than a local call across town, so an out-of-town contact may be in a better position to communicate among separated family members.

Be sure every household member knows the emergency contact phone number.

Use text messaging. Text messages can often get around network disruptions when a phone call might not be able to get through.

Program your cell phone with at least two “ICE” (In Case of Emergency) contacts. Emergency personnel will often check your ICE listings in order to get a hold of someone you know. Make sure to tell your family and friends that you’ve listed them as emergency contacts.

Subscribe to alert services. Many communities now have systems that will send instant text alerts or e-mails to let you know about bad weather, road closings, local emergencies, etc. Sign up by visiting your local Office of Emergency Management web site.

Complete an emergency contact card for each adult family member. Have them keep these cards handy in a wallet, purse, briefcase, etc. Additionally, complete contact cards for each child in your family. Put the cards in their backpacks or book bags.

Visit the FEMA “Ready.gov” site and download the Family Emergency Plan.  This PDF file allows you to fill out your complete contact information and print or email it to your family and friends.

One last point:  If you haven’t developed a complete emergency plan for your family, do it now!  Visit Ready.gov or the city of San Francisco’s site, 72hours.org for interactive disaster planning.

Thanks for reading! We’ll be back next week with more information, so stay updated by subscribing to Avanti Services via RSS or following us on Facebook and Twitter.

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