How do I communicate if power, phones, and the Internet are down?

Communication is often first disrupted when an emergency strikes. To plan for emergency communication you must ask and answer these questions before hand and commit to memorizing the answers and action plan.

  1. How will you locate each other without working cell phones?
  2. Where will you meet? What if that place is unsafe? What’s next?
  3. How will you locate children at school or day care if transportation is tricky?
  4. Who is on your team to help you as backup?
  5. What back up methods of calling and traveling do you have?
  6. At what point would you decide to flee your home or city?
  7. Where would you go and how long would you stay?
  8. What if electricity where disrupted and banks and ATMs didn’t work?
  9. How would you inform friends and family members of your crisis plans?
  10. How would you learn critical news updates or re-transmit them?

The key is to plan, taking a series of family meetings to refresh your plan in each others memories or add nuances to it. We recommend that New Year’s Day, July 4th, and Thanksgiving become hallmarks of revisiting your family plan. In an hour with an agenda, you can cover the above topics. Every fourth Sunday of the month, purpose to train your small children and teenagers the phone numbers they’ll need to know and what they’ll need to communicate to adults around them if things go awry.

Emergency Leadership

Appointing a leadership structure—whether within an extended family or a neighborhood grouping—is critical to weathering an emergency. Things to consider are:

  • Who’s in my community to care for?
  • Who makes the final decisions?
  • What is the division of labor and responsibility?
  • How do life and death decisions get made?
  • Who gets to be the expert?
  • Do decisions get made by democracy, dictatorship or otherwise?
  • What happens if someone disobeys community rules or courtesies?
  • How do assets get distributed?
  • How does work get done?
  • What is for sharing and what is personal private property?
  • What philosophy do we believe in—“Us for and no more?” vs. “Caring for the poor, the widow, the orphan?”
  • What do we believe about self-defense?
  • What do we believe about governance, policing, and medical treatment?
  • How do we practice spiritual beliefs?