Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Communications Plan

This is the weakest link in all plans. This is the first to break down, become overloaded or Murphy’s Law takes over in an emergency.

Let’s go over your current plan.

  1. Cell phone
  2. Cell phone
  3. Cell phone…Did I leave anything out?
  • Tornado: Salt Lake City - August 11, 1999, cell phones circuits overloaded

  • Terrorism: New York City - Sept 11, 2001, significant telephone disruptions

  • Hurricane: New Orleans - August 23, 2005, communications infrastructure destroyed

  • Fires: Southern California - October 2007, phone circuits overloaded and power lost

  • Snow/Ice Storms: Oklahoma - December 8-11, 2007, damaged phone lines and no power

for land line phone service as well as cell phone power ran out, unable to recharge.

Bottom line, cell phone networks are not designed for the occasional surge from rare events such as disasters or large scale emergencies.

Nearly all modern phones require electricity to operate. Only the old rotary phones from the second hand store, made in the 80s and earlier do not require electricity.

Ok, enough with the editorializing. So what is a reasonable communications plan for my family in an emergency?

I have prepared a list of emergency contact phone numbers (evacuation plan) that is important to have on hand. The list I have includes evacuation points if our family were separated. This enables us to still reunite if I am pulled away to help the community.

Cell phone:

Text msg: (when cell phones may not work, you may be able to text in emergencies)

Land line: (rotary)

Plan: You may not be able to reach anyone, no matter how prepared you are;

therefore, having gathering points if you are separated is essential.

These gathering points can be neighbors, church buildings, schools and family.

Ham radio:

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