One aspect of your preparedness planning that is often overlooked is giving thought to the fact that family members may be separated when disaster hits. Sure, it’d be nice if everyone were safe at home when it happens but odds are that won’t be the case. Kids may be at school, adults may be at work. Some may be out shopping, at the movies, out to eat, or Lord only knows where if teenagers are involved. With that in mind, there should be a plan in place for regrouping.
One part of this plan should address emergency communications. Depending upon the nature of the emergency, calling everyone’s cell phone might not be feasible. Phone lines often become overwhelmed during a crisis. However, text messages may still get through as they run on a different system. Create some sort of code word or phrase that, if received, indicates they should head for home immediately. It needs to be stressed that the only time this code phrase is used is in a true emergency. Also, there can be absolutely no mistaking the importance of receiving the message and acting upon it immediately. If your son receives a text from you that says, “Code Red,” he is to drop whatever he is doing and head for home using the fastest route possible.
But, what if the nature of the emergency prevents an easy travel back home? What if, for example, there is massive storm damage between your son and home? If he’s unable to safely travel home, he should seek other shelter and hunker down. If at all possible, he should contact those at home to let them know, whether via phone call or text. Ideally, he’ll transmit his location and that he is ok.
Children who are too young to travel home themselves will need to be picked up. A plan needs to be devised to lay out who is picking up the children and, if it is from school, that person should be noted in the school file as an authorized pick up person. Schools are, rightfully so, rather insistent upon this.
On top of all of this, there should be one more plan – what if home isn’t safe? What if, instead of having everyone meet at the residence you need for them to meet elsewhere? Choose an alternate location, someplace that is relatively nearby but not immediately next door. Say, a park in the neighborhood, for example. If this is the message received, “Code Red, Location B,” they know to head to the park and meet up there. The idea here is to give yourself options, which is what prepping is all about. I’m not suggesting you have 87 different locations, each with a different code phrase. We’re not talking 007 stuff here. The point is to have an alternate meet up location, just in case.
Give serious thought as to where your family members may be if disaster hits. Make a plan to allow for fast regrouping, should the need arise.