Don’t wait, communicate

Disasters can occur at any time, so it’s important to know how you and your family members will contact each other afterwards.

Experts offer these tips:

  • Complete a contact card for each adult family member. Keep the cards in a wallet or purse. Also, complete cards for children and put the cards in their backpacks or book bags.
  • Choose a friend or out-of-state relative to serve as a contact for household members to notify during emergencies. An out-of-town contact may be in a better position to communicate among separated family members. Make sure every member of your family knows this person’s phone number and has a cell phone, coins or a prepaid phone card to contact him or her.
  • Program someone in your cell phone as “ICE” (in case of emergency). If you’re in an accident, emergency personnel will often check your ICE listing.
  • Teach family members how to use text messaging, which can often get around network disruptions.

For more information, visit the Federal Emergency Management Agency site, which has a template to help you create a family emergency communication plan.