A disaster or an emergency can take place in many forms. Hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, civil unrest are just a few examples of things that have disrupted our modern way of life. Having a communication plan in place before the emergency is the key to everyone knowing what they need to be doing and who they need to be contacting.
Make the plan well in advance and make sure every family member knows their purpose and place in the plan.
Distribute contact lists to each family member and close friends. Have a list of people that each person should be calling or texting. This way each person is not trying to contact each other. If the chain remains in place everyone will know that everyone on the list is safe and operating according to plan.
During a large-scale disaster there is a very likely possibility that phone and internet service could be cut off or very limited. Start off by trying to only send text messages. A text message has a much better chance of getting through clogged phone lines then a call does.This is especially applicable if the disaster is large-scale enough that essential phone service is diverted to emergency service personnel. This has been known to happen in the past.
Sometimes the disaster can be a local event. The rest of the area or country can be left largely untouched by it. Having a plan in a place with a family member or friend outside of your immediate area can help to alleviate problems here.
Other times it might simply be that you need a phone and you do not have one. Many service providers have prepaid phone cards that can be stored up to 6 months or a year. Combine this with a very cheap prepaid cell phone and you have yourself a prepaid emergency phone that could be loaded up and activated upon need.
Short range communication options are also out there. These are great if your family and friends live all within a mile or two of each other. A simple pair of two way radios can help keep local lines of communication open and the community working together.
I know when reading this headline many younger people are now laughing. You might even be asking what a landline is. Truth is landlines are better suited to survive many disasters. Problem is you are right, landlines are becoming harder and harder to find and even if you find them there is no guarantee that they will work. It is an age-old solution and I thought it worth keeping in mind.
Personal Disasters or Emergencies.
There are many options if the emergency you are experiencing is limited just to you. Any cell phone regardless of if it is active or not will dial 911. That means you can reach emergency services if you need them.
Another option is VOIP or an Internet phone. These types of communication services are sometimes free and the benefit of them is they simply use the internet. Meaning you can use them if you find WiFi, cellular internet, or your home internet. Anywhere that you can reach the internet you can use these to reach friends and family for help.
Social media is the last thing I want to mention here. Although there are a lot of problems on modern social media, communication with loved ones or friends can be beneficial. You can let people know you are okay or even you need assistance. Many people answer a message from a social media site before they would check and see who a text message is from.
There is the basic Information! You decide the outcome!