FEMA and NOAA are designating the week of March 3-9, 2013 as National Severe Weather Preparedness Week. So over the course of this week, we want to help you with your preparation for a new season of weather perils. Again, the goal here is to get you thinking of the Spring season and how you may be affected. This is the fourth post in our series.
I wanted to simply point out some resources that you should look into as you look at your severe weather preparation or really disaster preparedness readiness. Today the topic is communications.
You can think of communications in three ways:
- Pre-planning your information
- Receiving information
- Post event communication
Pre-planning your information covers things you tell family members ahead of time. “If this happens, then I want you to go here.” An example, would be your fire escape plan. “If there’s a fire, get out of the house and meet at the telephone poll across street or at our neighbor Mrs. Smithwick.” This communication is a plan for what to do should something happen. It’s decided upon and discussed with family members ahead of time so everyone knows what to expect.
Receiving information concerns how you will receive alerts and notifications as well as family status (location of members etc) just in advance of a severe weather or other disaster event. It would be good to include this information in a pre-planning communication plan as well. A very simple example of a portion of this may be, “We listen to the radio and hear that a warning has been issued. Let’s text each other so we know where everyone is. Also, whoever is home and has time, go across the street and tell elderly, Mrs. Smithwick about it…be sure it’s safe for you to go first.”
Lastly, post event communication. Surely, your family members will want to hear from you. Even those family and friends who may not live locally, but may be aware that your area just experienced a significant event. They will try to contact you and/or you may want to contact them. Maybe an example here is, one member of your family contacts a person who is away and then let that someone in turn inform others in their area.
All of this may sound complicated and you may not believe you have the time to create such a plan. You don’t need to do all this thinking and coming up with ideas on your own. Go to http://www.ready.gov/ and browse the site. I want to specifically lift up the Make A Plan tab. It has:
- A Family Emergency Plan template that you can print and fill out.
- Family Communication tips
- A way for you to sign up to receive text messages from FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency)
- Questions you may want to ask schools and workplaces
- Information about utility shut offs, vital records, and more
If you select the “Plan to Protect Yourself & Your Family” link from the Make A Plan drop down menu, you will be delivered to these resources and can get going right away. It’s a great way to begin the planning process and when it’s completed, you have a communication plan that everyone can be made aware of and that you’ll have should you find yourself in a potential disaster situation.
#severeweatherweek #safety #prepared