Establish Communications Plan
With our increased reliance on mobile phones, e-mail clients and the Internet for contact information and communications with our friends, family and business associates, most of us have lost the ability to remember phone number, addresses and other details such as birthdays. Also, the communication methods we rely on today are much more complex and subject to interruption and breakdown when conditions degrade from ideal.
Imagine, that right now there is an earthquake or other disaster that has caused the phone lines and cell towers to stop working. You may be at work, at school or home. But where are the members of your team (close family and friends) and are they safe?
Where are they?
What is their condition?
Where should you meet them?
If you are like most families, you have been relying on the address book in your mobile phone and maybe an outdated emergency phone tree on the refrigerator to stay in touch with your team members. In the event that disaster strikes, and mobile phones and Internet are down, those will be useless.
Think about all of the locations where your team may be in a twenty-four hour period. Do you have a contact person and landline phone number for it? What about the address?
You should map out the locations and pair that with a listing of the contacts, address and phone numbers where each team member may be during the day and evening. For adults this is more than just where they work; make sure to include the gym or coffee shop they frequent as well. For children, their school is obvious, but what about the school bus company, the library, friend's houses, and after school activites like dance or karate.
Now this is the crucial part: Unless their life is in danger, each team member should stay where they are until positive communication has been made with someone else on their team. This because initial communication and subsequent rallying is the only way to ensure survival after a disaster initially occurs. Once you leave your last known location, you will be at risk of being lost in the midst of the chaos that will soon follow.
If it is necessary to leave your location before making positive contact with the team, make sure to leave a note in a prominent location and with a contact person stating your physical status and your intended destination. This should be a last resort rather than staying put and means that you must remain committed to reaching your destination for follow-up communication and rallying.
If several locations are near to each other, the eldest or most capable team member in that area, should be the one to risk making physical contact with the others and gathering them in one location.
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Family Communications Plan