You must make sure that you have a plan in place for communication during a disaster.
During and following a disaster can be hard for anybody. It becomes even worse if you do not prepare now for how you are going to communicate with your loved ones.
Power outages will mean you can’t use your usual means of communication. Chances are cellular services will become overwhelmed meaning your cell phone can also not be used.
So how will you communicate with your loved ones or other members if your group? Check out our tips below for some ideas.
Create your Communications Plan
The very first thing that you need to do is create a communications plan. Ensure that all members of your family or group understand it well. So what needs to be detailed in your communications plan? Let’s take a look:
- You need to decide on two different meeting places. You need to decide on one local meeting place and one that is out of town.
- How you will contact each other.
- Designate an out-of-town contact.
Start off by compiling a list of all emergency contacts for easy reference should they be needed during a disaster. Emergency contacts that should make the list include:
- Local police and fire departments.
- Gas, water, and electricity suppliers.
- If you have children, make sure to include their school phone numbers.
- Insurance company.
- Your family and friends.
You should choose one person that every family member or group member should use as the main contact. This person will act as the central hub of information.
You have a few options that you can use for communicating during and after a disaster and each have their own pros and cons.
Amateur radios (Ham) are good options although they do require a license to use, CB radios are OK but less people are using these nowadays. Two-way radios (walkie talkies) are also OK though are limited in range and will usually be affected by such things as hills and trees. If only being used over short distances, each family member can have one and these do not require any kind of license. The problem with walkie-talkies is that others could also listen in to your plans.
Satellite phones are like cell phones except that they use satellites rather that cell towers and don’t work too well indoors.
If planned beforehand, you can choose a location where you can leave notes hidden to let other members of the group know of your safety and your next moves. Other options if still running include:
- Cell and landline phones
- Social media.
If you are trying to communicate to others because you are in need of help, fire and smoke may be your better option if none of the above are an option. Over a distance you can use different colour smoke as signals to the rest if your group (obviously make sure you all know what each colour represents).
Mirrors can be used for signalling although are effectively useless at night. Chalking works well and can be removed easily after. This can be used instead of leaving notes hidden with the rule that once your group member reads it, they clean it off after so that your plans do not get compromised.
Remember, following a disaster, it may not be as easy as picking up your phone and calling somebody so the more options that you have, the better chance of survival.