The Friends & Family Plan
There are a lot of agencies out there that suggest that you make a sound Emergency Communication plan for your family in case disaster strikes but unbelievably, a lot of them don’t tell you how to actually do this, and the ones that do are woefully inadequate. Ready.gov at least gives some information by suggesting that you use the acronym COMMUNICATE:
- Create a family communication plan so you can get in touch with family members. Give copies of contact information and meeting locations to everyone in your family
- Options are available: telephones, cell phones and e-mail are all great ways to get in touch with family members.
- Make sure you know the emergency plan at your child’s school.
- Make a decision about where you will meet in case you can’t get home during an emergency.
- Understand that it may take time to get through to everyone. Try to be patient.
- Needs of your pets should be kept in mind. Keep a pet carrier for easy transport.
- Inform yourself. Watch news broadcasts, read online news updates or listen to a battery-operated radio for official guidance during an emergency, but also prepare in advance.
- Copies of your emergency plan should be in your emergency supply kit in case you need to leave in a hurry.
- Ask kids to discuss their concerns and feelings. Do they understand the family plan?
- Take the kids to visit the “meeting spots” so that they are familiar and feel comfortable finding them on their own if necessary.
- Emergencies take many forms. Categorize different types of emergencies and discuss the level of concern related to each and how that is reflected in your family plan.
That’s better than most but it’s still pretty dumb. You can tell they tried to come up with tenuous connections to each letter to make the acronym fit. It’s better than nothing, but it still doesn’t tell you effective ways of how you can communicate with your family during and after an emergency; it just tells you a few things to consider.
There are three main purposes to communicating with someone as part of your Emergency Communication plan:
- To order the initiation or change to a phase of your emergency plan
- To acknowledge or communicate that a phase has begun or changed
- To pass on information as to your status or requirements – a situation report
That should be it. If there’s any other reason you’re communicating, you didn’t prepare your plan well enough. Expect that you haven’t prepared your plan well enough. Your plan needs to be adaptable. Go with the flow, dude. The goal is to plan for everything but you also have to make your plan simple and easy to remember and follow.
If you’re planning for some eventual SHTF scenario such as a natural disaster, emergency event or the collapse of society, your communication plan should be an intimate part of your plan. If you’re just planning for how to communicate with your family in case of something like a fire or car accident or something, your communication plan will look different, but it should fit into any scenario.