Monday, May 14, 2018

Emergency Calling Lists

The rain is falling. The news says something about a hurricane in the offing. Your neighbor is building an ark out of gopher wood. Rather than dressing up as a capybara and trying to convince your neighbor to let you hitch a ride, you should probably check to make sure that your friends and family are okay, and possibly see if one of them happens to have a speedboat or something.

This is where having a calling list comes in handy.

A calling list is just what it says on the tin: a list of people to call in a disaster.(This can also function as a “medical emergency” list for the next time someone is in the hospital, enabling you to alert everyone that will want to know what happened with a minimum of effort and energy.)

Ideally, the people you are calling each have a list of people to call, and so on, forming a “phone tree”, where a large number of people get checked on and alerted to the latest disaster plans in a short period of time. I keep a current printed copy of the calling list somewhere easy to find and easy to acess for anyone I send to get it. I keep mine on my wall next to my refrigerator, right beneath the fire extinguisher.

A prepper's calling list should include:
  • All of your close friends and relatives that you will want to keep track of in case of emergency, prioritized by who is local and a prepper
  • A list of who each person on that list is responsible for calling
  • Any group preps that each person is responsible for
  • A secondary list of “these people will just want to know that I am fine” (Mothers that live a thousand miles away, for example)
  • You may want a “pre-disaster” and a “post-disaster” calling list. “Pre-disaster” is for things like an oncoming wild fire, where you have warning beforehand; “post-disaster” is for things like an earthquake, where you only have a chance to call them afterward.
  • This being 2018, I tend to have a list of people who prefer to text over those who call. Sending out a mass text is easier than calling each person, but dealing with the information management from the mass responses can be a pain. Use wisdom.
  • (If this is an option for you) Someone outside of the potential disaster zone, who can act as a coordinator.

Information to talk about:
  • The latest information on the disaster
  • Your current medical status in brief (just fine, broken arm, etc). This applies to both parties on the phone call or text.
  • Confirmation that the other party does not require aid (not necessarily medical)
  • Confirmation of any applicable meeting plans or meeting places
  • Any delegation of tasks that needs to happen
  • Confirmation that they will contact anyone else on the call tree for whom they are responsible

Other information to keep on hand:
  • A predefined meeting place for people to meet, well outside the likely disaster zone
  • A time frame for when you are likely to meet (hours, days etc.)
  • A list of your own immediate family/pets that you are responsible for, and the preparations you need to work on for them. 
    • People do dumb things when they are stressed from disasters, and having a written list ahead of time can save a lot of mental energy in a pinch. 
    • Being able to delegate tasks to someone can make a serious difference.
  • A list of local emergency numbers, as well as a list of radio stations, websites and other local information resources

Remember to have workarounds 
in case someone is sick/missing/not picking up their phone.
  • Make sure to assign the missing persons' tree calls to other people, or do them yourself so that everyone is covered
  • Leave a message with all the essential information that you would cover

I actually wrote a script for my calls
to ensure that if I have to delegate the phone calls to anyone that they can still cover all the important points:
“Hi, this is (name). (Disaster) is happening, and I wanted to call you to make sure that our plans are up to date.”

“I’m fine, but do you need anything?”

“Can you call the people on your list?”

“Cool. I will meet you at (Place) within a day and a half, on (Date). Talk to you soon.”
(Handy template: )

Calling lists make disasters less stressful to deal with, and can save a lot of stress and time when the disaster actually comes. If you have anyone else you are working with for your preps (even if you only have one person), they can save your bacon.

Good luck, and don’t lick the wires. 

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