Author Box
Articles Categories
All Categories
Articles Resources

Emergency Communications Planning - Your Emergency Preparedness Achilles Heel?

May 20, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 218

Do you have family and friends you care for? Or do you have other responsibilities, such as being involved in law enforcement, fire, medical, emergency communications, or any other emergency services? If so, please pay attention. Being able to use most of your key emergency plans in a serious event will depend on what I discuss in this article.

Do you have a disaster preparedness plan? Or have you tested emergency response plans for your communications teams or emergency office? Maybe you've tested your plan with your family or friends. Maybe you've worked through a county-wide earthquake drill or simulated hurricane or tornado response. Many of us have done some kind of simple testing or exercise. But one very important part of these exercises is usually not covered. Specifically, what happens if you're at work and your family is in danger? In other words, how well will those plans work if:

  1. You aren't where your family is or
  2. All your key partners/team members aren't around because they're busy trying to determine whether their families are safe?

No Personal Emergency Communications Plan?

Most emergency operations people I meet are well-prepared for a short-term problem, with at least the three days of food and water, a CERT class certificate on the wall, first aid, CPR and other basic certificates in place. But in a recent talk I gave to an audience of emergency management professionals in government and the private sector, I asked how many of them had a written, personal emergency communication plan. The results were eye-opening. Nobody in the audience raised their hands! While it may be different in your family, on your team or in your office, the numbers aren't surprising to me. Not many people have answered "yes" when I ask whether they have a written plan. Does your disaster preparedness plan contain a specific emergency communications plan? For most people, the answer is "no."

Let's think about this problem a little more: most of the people we will need to rely on during or post-disaster don't have a personal or family emergency communications plan. It doesn't take a brain surgeon to take this one step further. If the people who are already actively engaged in emergency preparedness don't have a personal emergency communications plan, the vast majority of people in their offices won't either. The people we all rely on won't be available. When we test our official plans, we assume our emergency personnel will be available. In too many cases, they simply won't.

Or you can look at it this way. If you're at work and your region is hit by an earthquake, twister, unexpected flooding, power outage or anything else that could seriously impact your family, what will be your focus? For that vast majority of us, our top priority will be to ensure our families are safe. Everything else in our lives will be a lower priority, even if our job is to help others in emergencies. You can read about Paul Schubert, 30-year police veteran who needed to care for his wife after Katrina hit: If you get to the end, you'll see the meat of the issue: "I chose my wife," Schubert says. "It was a no-brainer."

This is a glaring gap in our overall ability to respond to a disaster at all levels. No amount of equipment and supplies will prepare us to survive disaster without the ability to communicate with our families or teams.

How Do You Fix This?

What's the solution? Just as with our planning at the city/county/state level, we should have a written and tested personal emcomm plan for every critical member of our various emergency response teams. This idea certainly shouldn't be foreign, but it is still generally overlooked.

What kind of plan am I discussing? As with any "professional" plan, it needs to consider the following variables:

  • Who? (e.g., family, friends, possibly neighbors we feel responsible for)
  • When do we attempt communication? If phones don't work, when do we use precious battery power to transmit or listen?
  • What gear do we use at which time? Do you try with an FRS/GMRS radio, amateur radio, satphone? Which frequencies or channels do we use if the first ones are busy?
  • What are the backup plans, and what are their schedules?

What's the best way to make your own personal emergency communications plan? I make it easy for you, even if you have no background in radio, satphones, etc. Please see the resource information below.

Do you have a template for a plan? You can get one for free here:

Do you need more information? Dozens of tips on planning, technology specific gear are covered in my book Personal Emergency Communications, available on in print, and in Kindle and Nook formats soon.

Andrew Baze

Source: EzineArticles
Was this Helpful ?

Rate this Article

Article Tags:

Emergency Communications


Emergency Communications Plan


Personal Emergency Communications

After the classic Legend and after the modification, HTC now has launched HTC One V in the market. This is simply one of the most desirable looking phones available at any price.The HTC One V comes

By: Wilson Roy l Communications > Mobile Cell Phone l November 24, 2012 lViews: 250

Nowadays, there has been a number of smartphones released from a number of manufacturers which share a lot of features in common. LG cell phones represent cutting-edge technology that brings the

By: Wilson Roy l Communications > Mobile Cell Phone l November 11, 2012 lViews: 246

RIM stands for Research in Motion and this firm has truly been proving its name. One can see the evolution the blackberry brand has undergone and the new phones are simply a proof of all this. Now

By: jacke adoms adoms l Communications > Mobile Cell Phone l October 30, 2012 lViews: 327

Nokia phones have made their impact in the mobile phone industry all over. They have something to do with every market. Now even the online markets are getting their top notch products and the whole

By: Olivia Slater l Communications > Mobile Cell Phone l October 26, 2012 lViews: 328

Each phone in the market has its special characteristics that it likes to boast about. The Blackberry brand from the RIM is one of the world’s leading business phones and with each model being

By: jacke adoms adoms l Communications > Mobile Cell Phone l October 18, 2012 lViews: 291

In fact, an information and communications technology explosion is taking place and the entire human society is becoming increasingly dependent on the internet and hi-tech phone systems. This

By: Jmsallen l Communications > VOIP l July 17, 2012 lViews: 376

With the wide use of mobile phones for communication why is it that the good old portable radio is still used by security personel and police forces everywhere. This is a look at what benefits a

By: David Harlandl Communications > Radiol June 13, 2012 lViews: 212

Nothing drives a focused person like myself more crazy than an unfocused person who has no idea what is best for themselves. You know what I'm talking about. The type of person who has all the

By: Tony Brueskil Communications > Radiol June 12, 2012 lViews: 190

Traditional first responder mobile command vehicles are costly and unable to access many post-disaster locations. New man-portable technologies are augmenting and replicating legacy vehicle

By: Mark Luekerl Communications > Radiol June 06, 2012 lViews: 165

With modern technology, networking and automation the good old days of starting in radio hosting a mid-dawn shift so you can learn the craft is all but dead. Community can sometimes be a great place

By: Jamie McDonaldl Communications > Radiol June 02, 2012 lViews: 163

There is a method to the madness when it comes to promoting a product or service, with no understanding of that method, often times a radio commercial crafted by someone who does not know how to

By: Tony Brueskil Communications > Radiol May 26, 2012 lViews: 187

Radio has changed over the past two decades, focusing less on the listener and more on revenue generating streams. From online streaming to NTR departments. Commercial radio will continue to evolve

By: Alice J Rossl Communications > Radiol May 17, 2012 lViews: 150

Discuss this Article

comments powered by Disqus