3-Step Disaster Plan

Protect your family against natural calamity by preparing grab-and-go bags, a communication plan, and emergency supplies.

Weather the Storm, Step 2

2. Create a written communication/reunion plan

One of the scariest things about disasters is that they can leave family members geographically scattered, making it hard for them to communicate.

To make sure that you and your loved ones can remain in touch no matter what, create your communication/reunion plan using the basic form printed below.

Set aside a couple of hours to sit down as a family to fill it out. If you tend to “zone out” when filling out forms, have another family member do it for you.

FAMILY COMMUNICATION/REUNION PLAN

Home phone
____________________________________________________
Home address (reunion site #1)
____________________________________________________
Mother’s full name
____________________________________________________
Mother’s work phone
____________________________________________________
Mother’s cell phone
____________________________________________________
Mother’s e-mail
____________________________________________________
Father’s full name
____________________________________________________
Father’s work phone
____________________________________________________
Father’s cell phone
____________________________________________________
Father’s e-mail
____________________________________________________
Neighbor’s name and address (reunion site #2)
____________________________________________________
Neighbor’s home phone number
____________________________________________________
Reunion site #3
____________________________________________________
Out-of-town contact name and address (reunion site #4)
____________________________________________________
Out-of-town contact phone
____________________________________________________
School #1 name and address
____________________________________________________
School #1 phone
____________________________________________________
School #2 name and address
____________________________________________________
School #2 phone
____________________________________________________

Your plan should include phone numbers and e-mail addresses for each family member. Indicate an out-of-town contact whom you can leave messages with and retrieve messages from if it’s impossible to call someone in your hometown. Program the numbers into everyone’s cell phones and your landline (corded) phone. Landline phones often work when cell and cordless phones don’t.

You should also specify “rolling” reunion sites where everyone agrees to meet. Reunion site #1 is your home; everyone who is not at home when disaster strikes should head there as soon as possible. If traveling to the first site is out of the question, family members should head to site #2, site #3, and so on. I recommend making site #2 a neighbor’s home, and site #3 a public building, such as a school or a library, situated one to three miles from your home.

In case of widespread disaster, it’s wise to designate a fourth reunion site 10 to 20 miles from your home. The home of a relative or a friend might be a good choice.

Once you fill in all the blanks, make a copy for each family member. In addition, post a copy of the plan on your refrigerator, give one to each child’s school or day-care center, and place one in the glove compartment of each car and another in your grab-and-go bag.


This article comes from the December 2006/January 2007 issue of ADDitude.

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