My kids are now 18 years and older, and all three of them are attending schools in three different states: Kentucky, Maryland and Florida. We realize now, that we need to update our Family Emergency Plan to include how and where we would even begin to find each other should a disaster strike.
One of the first things we did was pick a relative in an unrelated area of the country to use as a point of contact. We learned from Floyd in 1999, cellular lines were unreliable due to the sheer volume of calls being made in Florida as millions of people were being evacuated. A friend or relative in an area that would not likely be involved in your disaster is a great point of contact.
For example, we’ll use Grandma in Arizona. If the east coast is hit with a disaster we all know to call Grandma and “check in” with our status, needs and plans.
-We are all to follow up with Grandma on a regular basis.
-We all carry cell phones.
-We all are adding our emergency contacts as ICE (In Case of Emergency) to our cell phones.
-We have all learned to “text” messages, sometimes these will go through when a phone call will not
If my son calling from Maryland cannot reach me in Florida, or his sister in Kentucky because, “All circuits are busy,” he is more likely to make a successful call to Arizona.
Another subject we discussed was the school’s emergency plans. We learned on March 2, 2012, how my grandson’s school in Henryville, Indiana executed their emergency plan when their school was destroyed by a rare F5 tornado. Again, phone lines were overwhelmed and facebook became my best form of communication for several hours immediately after the devastation.
Earlier this month, at our orientation at The Florida State University they discussed their emergency plans, and asked us parents to please not call and have our kids return home if there was a hurricane forming in the Atlantic Ocean; odds are we would all be heading their direction anyway.
It is time to talk with your family and make your own Family Emergency Plan!
What about sudden disasters? What will you do if you are in church, at work, or at the grocery store? Where would you go locally to meet up? You need to know where the daycare will be evacuated to if you have children in daycare. If you work in an office building where do you go in case of an emergency?
Do you know about each others allergies, maintenance prescriptions, blood types, or identifying marks? Do you keep recent pictures of each other?
Hurricane season is upon us and with the turmoil in today’s world, your family really needs to have a year-round Emergency Plan.