Disaster could strike at anytime! It is very possible that you and your family will not be together, some
may be at work, school, traveling, out shopping, or somewhere in between. Because of this, it is very
important that you have a family communications plan. Planning recommendations include:
- Identify an out-of-town contact, such as a friend or relative, who family members can call to let
them know they are safe. It may be easier to make a long-distance phone call than to call across town,
because phone lines can be jammed. An out-of-town contact may be in a better position to
communicate among separated family members.
- Teach your family members how to text. It may seem like second nature to some of us, but not
everyone texts. During an emergency, it is often easier to get a text message delivered rather than a
- If you have a cell phone, program that person(s) as “ICE” (In Case of Emergency) in your phone.
If you are in an accident, emergency personnel will often check your ICE listings in order to get a hold
of someone you know. Make sure to tell your family and friends that you have listed them as
- Subscribe to an emergency alert system. Check with your local health department or emergency
management agency to see if there is one offered for your area. Post emergency telephone numbers
by home phones or save them in your cell phone (fire, police, ambulance, etc.).
- Teach children how and when to call 911 for help.
- Identify a location to meet in town and out of town
For more information and templates for developing a Family Communication Plan, visit
The Ready.gov Make A Plan site includes information and templates for:
Family Communication during an emergency
Family Communication Plan for Parents and Kids
School and workplace plans
Commuter Emergency Plan