Talk about who will be the lead person to send out information about the
designated meeting place for the household.
Practice gathering all household members at your indoor and neighborhood
emergency meeting places. Talk about how each person would get to the
identiﬁed out-of-neighborhood and out-of-town meeting places. Discuss all
modes of transportation, such as public transportation, rail, and para-transit for
all family members, including people with disabilities and others with access
and functional needs.
Regularly have conversations with household members and friends about the
plan, such as whom and how to text or call, and where to go.
To show why it’s important to keep phone numbers written down, challenge
your household members to recite important phone numbers from memory—
now ask them to think about doing this in the event of an emergency.
Make sure everyone, including children, knows how and when to call 911 for
help. You should only call 911 when there is a life-threatening emergency.
Review, update, and practice your Family Emergency Communication Plan at
least once a year, or whenever any of your information changes.
To help start the conversation or remind your family why you are taking
steps to prepare and practice, you may want to watch the 4-minute video,
It Started Like Any Other Day, about families who have experienced disaster, at
www.youtube.com/watch?v=w_omgt3MEBs. Click on the closed captioning (CC)
icon on the lower right to turn on the captioning.
After you practice, talk about how it went. What worked well? What can be
improved? What information, if any, needs to be updated? If you make updates,
remember to print new copies of the plan for everyone.
OTHER IMPORTANT TIPS FOR COMMUNICATING IN DISASTERS
Text is best when using a mobile phone, but if you make a phone call, keep it
brief and convey only vital information to emergency personnel and/or family or
household members. This will minimize network congestion, free up space on
the network for emergency communications, and conserve battery power.
Wait 10 seconds before redialing a number. If you redial too quickly, the data
from the handset to the cell sites do not have enough time to clear before
you’ve re-sent the same data. This contributes to a clogged network.
Conserve your mobile phone battery by reducing the brightness of your screen,
placing your phone in airplane mode, and closing apps you do not need. Limit
watching videos and playing video games to help reduce network congestion.
Keep charged batteries, a car phone charger, and a solar charger available for
backup power for your mobile phone, teletypewriters (TTYs), ampliﬁed phones,
and caption phones. If you charge your phone in your car, be sure the car is in a
well-ventilated area (e.g., not in a closed garage) to avoid life-threatening carbon
Federal Communications Commission, Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau. (n.d.) Tips for communicating
in an emergency. Retrieved from http://transition.fcc.gov/pshs/emergency-information/tips.html