Family Communication Plan Part One

Family Communication Plan Part One

Family Communication Plan Part One Copyright Adrienne Z. Milligan
Family Communication Plan Part One Copyright Adrienne Z. Milligan

Family Communication Plan Part One

After we began focusing more on prepping as a family, we knew communication would be a key in being ready.

Communication means so much more than a cell phone, even today…

When the family is scattered…

While most of my extended family is on the West Coast like we are, my husband’s family is not.  His family is on the East Coast and some in the Mid-West.

My sibling and parents live near us.  My aunts, uncles, and cousins are all over the country.  Some live close to us, others do not.

His one sibling lives near us.  The other sibling lives in Tornado Alley.  His parents and grandparents all live in Upstate New York.  His aunts and uncles live throughout the United States.  Same with his cousins.

Select an Out-of-State Emergency Contact

The books I’ve read have mentioned creating your own Family Communication Plan.  The suggestion is to select an out-of-state relative (or trusted close friend) who lives on the other side of the country.  (Or lives far enough away not to be instantly affected by a disaster in your area.)

Once you decide on who you would like to be your out-of-state emergency contact, please call the person and discuss it with them.  If the person is not willing or unable to be your contact, you need to know before disaster strikes.  (A person who may be unable to serve as your out-of-state emergency contact is one who has memory issues, struggles dealing with stress, or would not handle hearing about your situation while it was happening.)

For now, my in-laws are our designated Out-of-State Emergency Contact.  We do need to remind them of this and see if they are still willing.

Family Communication Plan Part One Copyright Adrienne Z. Milligan
Family Communication Plan Part One Copyright Adrienne Z. Milligan

Responsibilities of an Out-of-State Emergency Contact

The person acting as your Emergency Contact needs to be willing to relay messages to and for you.  As long as you have told everyone who might want to know where you (and your family members) are during a disaster, they will not call you. They will all call your Emergency Contact.


  • Past experience has shown it is easier to make phone calls out-of-state during a disaster than locally.
  • By having local people call out-of-state, you decrease the strain on local calls.  This allows EMS and 9-1-1 Services to get to those needing help, faster.
  • Cell towers may be down or overloaded – especially for local calls.  Go long and call out-of-state.

When a local person calls your Emergency Contact, your Contact will relay a message from you (if you have been able to communicate).  Your Contact can also have a list of people to call after you communicate your status.

When a disaster happens, how will you communicate with your Contact?

Many people think their cell phone will allow them to communicate 24/7 and 365 days a year.  During a disaster, cell phones may work for a long time or for only a few minutes.

Cell towers are powered by electricity so when the power grid goes down, the towers will last only as long as the batteries.  Once the disaster has occurred and people begin trying to make phone calls, this is when cell towers and phone lines get overloaded.  EMS and 9-1-1 Services begin to struggle to keep calls on the line and have a line to talk.

Amateur Radio Operators (Hams)

Currently, three out of the six of us have our Ham licenses.  Hubby has his Extra.  Our oldest son and I have our Technician Class.  We are studying for the General Class License Exam.

When a disaster occurs, we will be able to communicate with each other.  This is our plan.  As long as we have a handheld Ham radio or are near a mobile or base Ham radio (in our vehicles or in the home), we will be able to communicate.  (For more information on Amateur Radio, please visit A.R.R.L.)

Part II coming soon…

How do you communicate during disasters?


4 thoughts on “Family Communication Plan Part One”

    1. Elise, awesome to know you have two out-of-state contacts plus meeting spots arranged! So many people do not. Selecting out-of-state contacts is not always easy though it is extremely important. Thanks for visiting! ~Adrienne

    1. Indeed! In the moments during and after an emergency, the last thing people need to think about is how to contact the family. Having a Family Communication Plan in place before the disaster strikes can reduce the stress during and after it. Thanks for visiting! ~Adrienne

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