How well do you know the number of your family members and friends? If you had to dial their numbers in an emergency, would you be able to do so? During the month of July we focus on communicating during a disaster. Whether it is a storm, power outage, wildfire, or even ice storm, disasters can strike with little notice. Therefore, you need to have a plan ahead of time on who you would need to reach during a disaster. If you live alone, do your closest loved ones know your evacuation plans? It may seem overwhelming to start, but by just taking small steps, you can become prepared. Below are some tips that will help you get started on the right track.

  • Program an ICE (in case of an emergency) contact in your phone. You can do this by simply adding the words ICE next to the name of the person you designate.
  • Set up a Smart911 This free service is accessible to first responders during a disaster or emergency.
  • Keep a car charger in your vehicle or an additional charger in your emergency bag in case you need to leave home in a hurry.
  • Realize that during a disaster, the phone lines may be jammed and sending a text message may be able to go through easier than making a phone call.
  • Remember or write down important contact numbers (family, friends doctor, etc.) and keep it in a safe place where it will be readily available such as your emergency bag, purse, or in your car—feel free to put them in more than one place.

Take some time this month to discuss with your family how you would communicate during a disaster. Teach young children what to expect regarding communication if they are at school and a disaster happens. If you are a caretaker or have elderly loved ones, be sure you review their communication plan at least a couple of times a year. Remember, the small steps we take now will help prepare us in the future.