Disaster Necessities Compiled List of all Emergency Communication Products
Emergency Phone Numbers Bring Quick Response
Every year as the children go back to school, parents fill out a new emergency contact sheet for them to take back to their teacher. Generally, this includes their insurance information as well as the names and numbers of trusted family or friends who could help your children in an emergency.
No matter how many times this information has been given in the past, it is wise to update it every year. Most schools know the value of being prepared for the unexpected. Having important names and phone numbers on hand may save valuable time and energy during a disaster, especially in a stressful situation when it is difficult to think clearly.
Many families keep a list like this taped to their kitchen cupboard. It has their work numbers, family members, neighbors, and emergency numbers like the hospital, and our family doctor.
A former employee shared the following experience:
An emergency phone list by a phone will help ensure a quicker response, which may even save a life. Please take a moment to brainstorm for possible people and agencies that you would want to communicate with in the event of an emergency. Make your children aware of these numbers and regularly review possible situations where you would need to use them.
It is a good idea to keep a list of these numbers handy, preferably posted by the phone, to know exactly where to go should an immediate need arise. We have put together an easy-to-use form with our suggestions of important numbers to have, as well as spaces for your own numbers. A good place to start when filling out the form is your local phone book. It often lists the numbers for your police and fire stations, as well as other agencies like poison control or the American Red Cross.
Recommended Emergency Contact Numbers:
Even though we cannot predict or prevent earthquakes, floods, tornadoes, or other natural cataclysmic events, we can prepare our families to cope and survive as optimally as possible. Learning what communication options are available during and after a disaster will bring confidence that you can better protect you and your loved ones. Establish a “meeting place” where family members can gather in the event of an emergency. You may want to select a local school or church. In the case that it is not possible to gather, having a common message center is vital.
One of the most important keys to receiving and sending information to family members who may be in various places when a disaster occurs is through an out-of-state contact. This is a friend or relative designated to handle messages should you not be able to call or locate your local family members. While most local private phone lines may be out of order for hours after a disaster strikes, pay phones are usually operable much sooner. The out-of-state contact can receive and relay messages from family members so you will know they are safe.
Tips for Communication
Establish in advance who your out-of-state contact will be. Everyone should carry with them a card with the out-of-state contact's name, address, and day and evening phone numbers. Let your children's teachers know who the out-of-state contact is for your family. That way, if your children are at school and you cannot pick them up, school representatives will know whom to relay a message concerning where your children will be taken. Each family member should carry a phone card or enough change for several phone calls. One woman whose family lives in California has designated her sister who is a stay-at-home mom in Michigan as the out-of-state contact. Family members carry laminated cards in their wallets with the following information: (a) emergency meeting place with the address (outside the home); (b) alternate meeting place and address (outside the neighborhood); and (c) name and day and evening phone numbers of out-of-state contact.
It may be helpful to find out in advance if you have a ham radio operator in your area. They are very helpful and can deliver messages from both private and community sources during and after a disaster. If a pay telephone isn't readily available, and your out-of-state contact is several states away, you can communicate via this type of relay system. Your local ham can contact another ham that will contact another ham, and so on, until they find one within your out-of-state contact's area. The ham operator closest to your contact can then phone the contact and deliver any messages.
A battery-powered or hand crank radio is helpful in monitoring the status of the disaster. Be sure and keep a fresh supply of batteries on hand. Check expiration dates on the batteries and rotate them regularly. Do not keep batteries inside the radio because they expire more quickly and may leak.
When charged, most cell phones are able to call 9-1-1 even when they are not active. It is wise to have a cell phone (even not activated) when traveling or for emergency use.
Kits containing supplies and food to cover a minimum of 72 hours are essential because local and national relief agencies may take three days or longer to get services up and running. It is especially important to have at least one gallon of water per person per day.
Remember that preparation brings confidence. When planning for an emergency, don’t forget that communication with your family members will be especially important. The tips provided in this article will assist you in creating a plan to contact loved ones during unexpected events.