In an emergency situation, you need to be aware of what’s going on around you and also be able to communicate with the outside world. Whether it’s a tornado, earthquake, flood, hurricane or blizzard, your ability to effectively send and receive messages is critical to your ability to get somewhere safe, get appropriate medical help and let friends and family know that you are OK.
How To Communicate During a Disaster
During the emergency, you’ll need to check whether your phones are still working. Depending on what has happened, phone lines may be fine, working but overloaded or not working at all. If you get a dial tone, call 9-1-1 and report the issues. If you get a busy signal or cannot otherwise complete the call, hang up and try again about 15 seconds later. If you need to communicate but are not necessarily facing an emergency that requires 9-1-1, make brief phone calls or send text messages to family members and friends to let them know your situation.
More than just a way to chat with friends, social media can play a big part in communication during an emergency. Many cities and states are using social media like Twitter and Facebook to send out emergency alerts, so keep your handheld device nearby to get updates. To conserve battery power, keep the screen setting as dim as you can and close unnecessary apps. You can also use social media to communicate with friends and family members about your health, well-being and even your location. It’s a powerful portable way to get the word out on whether you are safe or if you need help.
Radio and Television
As part of your emergency preparedness plan, make sure you include a battery powered radio or portable television. This way, you can listen to local or state announcements concerning the emergency and plan accordingly. For example, if a certain area is being evacuated for flooding, it will be reported on the media outlets and you will get the message before it is too late. Some ham radio enthusiasts can equip themselves with setups that work even without power as a way to communicate to others in an emergency.
Preparation Before a Disaster
When you have a communication plan already in place before any kind of disaster strikes, you’ll be in a much better position when the going gets tough. Keep a list of emergency numbers in your cell phone and on hard copy in your emergency preparedness stock. Decide on a family contact person—someone who does not live in your area that all family members will contact if they are separated. Also, make it a habit to always keep your cell phones fully charged so you’ll have the longest battery life possible during a disaster.
Chett Wright enjoys writing about camping, outdoor living and emergency preparedness. His most recent articles cover essential food storage items as well as getting children involved in emergency preparedness. Click here to learn more about emergency preparedness and how it can benefit your family.