September is National Preparedness Month, a perfect time for disaster communication planning among families, companies and communities. This year’s theme, “Don’t Wait. Communicate. Make Your Emergency Plan Today,” reminds us that it’s time for everyone in Georgia, from the North Georgia mountains to the Coastal Plain in the South, to start asking the question, “What’s my plan in the event of a disaster?”
Actually, we might need to back up and first ask, “Why do I need a plan?” It’s easy to understand the need to stock extra food and water and other emergency supplies. But when it comes to a plan for connecting with family members during or immediately after an emergency, we often assume it will be as simple as picking up the phone and giving someone a call.
Except it might not be. Cell networks may be overwhelmed, making it difficult to place calls. Roads may be impassable, making it impossible to get into or out of your neighborhood. If an emergency happens while you’re not with your family, reconnecting everyone could be more difficult than you think. That’s why it’s so important to have a plan before disaster strikes. Here are a few questions to consider as you begin formulating a plan for your family:
- Is my emergency contact list up to date?
- Does my family know how to get in touch with each other if we are not all together?
- Does my family have a main person all family members know to contact?
- Who’s my out-of-state contact in the event of a major disaster or evacuation?
- Do I have a plan for my pets?
- Are senior family members or family members with access and functional needs prepared for emergencies?
There is a lot to consider, but we have resources to make it easier. Start by creating a Ready profile. This tool – available on our website and via our mobile app – helps you create a family communications plan and also will generate a customized list of items to keep in your Ready kit.
Throughout September, Ready Georgia will be sharing resources, recommendations and recent news to promote emergency preparedness on our website and through social media — like us on Facebook, follow @GeorgiaEMA and use the hashtag #NatlPrep to interact with us, and tell us how you’re making the most of National Preparedness Month!