Posts Tagged ‘emergency communication’


  • Before
  1. Learn & Plan
  2. Prepare
  3. Practice
  • During
  1. Remain Calm
  2. Gather Information
  3. Think
  4. Act
  5. Help
  • After
  1. Help
  2. Talk About It
  3. Resume Normal Life


When making preparations for an emergency, we usually just think about surviving the ordeal, not recovering from the incident.  After large-scale disasters like September 11, 2001 and Hurricane Katrina, we have seen communities and the entire nation come together and help those in need.  Emergency responders and other volunteers leave family and home to travel to the other side of the country to render assistance.  Neighborhoods, churches, and business donate time and money to put together disaster, food, and sanitation kits.  Blood donors flock to literally give the gift of life.

When thinking about post-disaster recovery, we often think about search and rescue, removing debris and cleaning, or reconstructing homes and other structures.  Many people don’t have the skills or ability to help in these actions.  So what can these other individuals do?

After an emergency on your area, after you have taken care of the needs of your family and neighbors, it is a good idea to report to CERT, Red Cross or other community action groups.  They are trained in how to organize volunteers to help. 

There are many things that can be done besides heavy lifting, cleaning and building. 

  • Volunteers can help prepare and distribute food, clothing, sanitation, and shelter supplies. 
  • Just as in any organization, there is a lot of paperwork and documentation that needs to be done.  Volunteers can help collect, organize and distribute information. 
  • If traditional communication lines are down, volunteers can act as information runners in cars, on bikes, horses, ATVs, or on foot.
  • In emergencies, children can get separated from parents.  A volunteer experienced in child care can care for these children or for the children of parents who are volunteering in other areas.
  • Sometimes one of the most important jobs a volunteer can do is to hold a hand, listen, and provide a shoulder to cry on.

If a person is willing and able to help, there is always something that he or she can do.  Be proactive and think about what you and your family can do to help others after a disaster.  Remember that when we are helping others, we forget about our own sorrows and can find comfort in serving others.

WaterWilderness Breakdown
Shelter & Warmth
First Aid
Hygiene & Sanitation
Clothing & Personal Items
Important Papers & Money
  • Emergency & Non-Emergency Numbers
  • Emergency Family Contacts:  Phone, Address & E-mail
  • Home, Work, School, Day Care, Out of Area, Out of State
  • Local Maps with Evacuation Routes, Home, Work, School, Family Meeting Places
  • Currant Copies of Family Photos & IDs
  • Personal Medical Information
  •           Medical Providers
  •           List of Medications
  •           Special Medical Equipment
  •           Medical Conditions
  •           Vaccinations
  •           Blood Type
  •           Allergies & Sensitivities
  •           Health Insurance
  • Emergency Cash
  • Coins for Pay Phones
Auto Kit Specifics

72 Hour Kit

72 Hour Kit


72 Hour Kit Rules: 

  1. One personalized, self-contained kit per person
  2. Individually Portable
  3. Store for easy, quick access – Closet near front door is ideal
  4. Update every 6 months
  5.           Summer clothes to winter clothes, winter clothes to summer clothes
  6.           Check medications
  7.           Check food
  8.           Check water
  9.           Check batteries
  10.           Check cooking fuel
  11.           Check inventory
  12.           Update documents
  13. All 10 survival needs, but only the basics:  Food, Water, Hygiene & Sanitation, Shelter & Heat, Cooking, Light, Communication, First Aid, Personal Items & Clothing, Important Papers & Money
  14. Know how to use items in kits
  15. This list is more than can probably fit in your 72 Hour Kit.  Take the items from each of the 10 areas that are most important to your personal needs.  Bold items are recommended.
  16. Practice Evacuation with your family


*Baby Needs

**Store outside of pack, but in same location

***Don’t forget 


Backpack, Duffle Bag, 5 Gallon Bucket with lid or other Portable Container

Small enough to fit in your lap.  Approx. carry-on luggage size. 


Ready to Eat & Simple Preparation

  • Instant Soup Packets
  • Ramen Soup  
  • MRE Bread
  • Granola Bars
  • Instant Oatmeal Packets
  • Instant Apple Cider Packets
  • Instant Hot Chocolate Packets
  • Instant Broth Packets
  • Water Bottle Flavor Packets 
  • Fruit Cup
  • Raisins
  • Beef Jerky
  • Trail Mix
  • Fruit Roll-up
  • Crackers & Peanut Butter
  • Peanut Butter/Jelly Packets
  • Hard Candy
  • Emergency Ration/Energy Bars 
  • Multi Vitamins
  • *Liquid Vitamins 
  • *Powdered Baby Formula 
  • *Baby Cereal 
  • Paper Copy of Planned 3 Day Menu


DAY 1 

Breakfast – Granola, Hot Chocolate 

Lunch – Chicken Noodle Soup, Jerky, Fruit Roll up, Candy 

Dinner – 1/2 Ramen Noodle Soup, Fruit Bar 


Breakfast – Oatmeal, Apple Cider 

Lunch – Chicken Noodle Soup, Jerky, Raisins, Candy 

Dinner – Peanut Butter/Jelly, MRE Bread 

DAY 3 

Breakfast – Granola, Apple Cider 

Lunch – 1/2 Ramen Noodle Soup, Trail Mix, Candy 

Dinner – Cheese & Crackers, Fruit Cup 


Hygiene & Sanitation

Travel Size

Shelter & Heat




First Aid

Personal Items & Clothing

  • Multifunction Pocket Knife
  • Compass
  • Personal Prescription Medications
  • Diabetic Supplies 
  • Epinephrine Pen 
  • Complete Change of Clothing Incl. Socks & Underwear
  • Thermal Underwear 
  • *2 or 3 Complete Changes of Clothing 
  • **Sturdy Shoes or Boots
  • Extra Shoe Laces 
  • Bandana 
  • Paper Clips 
  • Rubber Bands 
  • Ear Plugs
  • **Coat/Hat/ Gloves-Mittens 
  • Small Games/Cards/Books
  • *Toy/Coloring Book/Crayons 
  • Extra Glasses/Contacts 
  • Polarized Sunglasses 
  • Mace/Pepper Spray 
  • *Baby Bib 
  • Religious Items (ie. scriptures, consecrated oil, cross) 
  • 100 Foot Nylon Clothesline 
  • Small Roll Duct Tape 
  • Small Wind-up Clock or Watch w/ Alarm 
  • Extra House & Car Keys 
  • ***Mobile Phone & Chargers 
  • ***Pets 
  • ***Pet 72 Hour Kit 

Important Papers & Money

  • 72 Hour Kit Inventory List
  • Emergency Contact List w/ Names, Addresses, Phone #s & E-mails of all Family Members for Home, Work, School & Day Care
  • Address, Phone# & E-mail of 1st & 2nd Family Emergency Meeting Places
  • Local Emergency Phone #s – Police, Fire, Ambulance, Poison Control, Family Doctor, Dentist,  Religious Leaders
  • Local Map with Home, Work, Schools, Em. Mtg. Places & Evacuation Routes Marked
  • Minimum $200 Cash in Small Bills
  • $10 in Change
  • Prepaid Phone Card
  • **Written Evacuation Plan
  • Current Individual Photos of Family Members for ID Purposes (“Has anyone seen this person?”)
  • Current Group Family Photos to ID as Family Group
  • Copies of– Printed Copy and/or Flash Drive
  •           Marriage Certificate
  •           Birth Certificate
  •           Social Security Card/Records
  •           Vehicle Registration/Title
  •           Will
  •           Guardianship
  •           Power of Attorney
  •           Personal Property Inventory List
  •           Insurance Agent & Policy #
  •           Life
  •           Auto
  •           Home
  •           Medical
  •           Diplomas
  •           Military
  •           School Certificates
  •           Immunization Records
  •           Prescriptions
  •           Budget
  •           Bills
  •           Outstanding Debts
  •           Checking/Savings/Credit Card Accounts
  •           Web Site Accounts
  •           Passwords
  •           Safe-Deposit Box Location & Number
  •           Assets
  •           Stocks
  •           Bonds
  •           Tax Returns
  •           Children’s Fingerprints
  •           Religious Documents (ie. Blessings, Prayers)
  • ***Wallet/Purse
  • ***Passport
  • ***Checkbook 

Take only if time & space are available

These items are NOT a part of your 72 Hour Kit     

Tornado Emergency

Care for yourself, your family & your neighbors.

  • Before
  1. Learn & Plan
  2. Prepare
  3. Practice
  • During
  1. Remain Calm
  2. Gather Information
  3. Think
  4. Act
  5. Help
  • After
  1. Help
  2. Talk About It
  3. Resume Normal Life

You’ve prepared.  You’ve planned.  You have your emergency kits in order and they are ready to go.  You’re staying calm & you’re continually gathering information about the emergency you are now facing.  With that information you are adapting your emergency plans to this specific emergency.  So you have your plan of action, now DO IT!  This is the time that you hoped wouldn’t come, but you prepared for any way.  Don’t hesitate.  Seconds of delay could mean the difference between life and death.  Get going!

You First

Now that the emergency is here, who do you take care of first?  YOURSELF!  Just like they tell you on the airplane, put the oxygen mask on yourself before you put it on your child.  That sounds selfish, but think about it.  How can you care for your child or any other person if you are incapacitated?  Look after your own health and safety FIRST so that you CAN help others.  YOU are your first priority, your family is your second, neighbors and the community are third.

10 Areas of Emergency Preparedness

As you follow your plan, continue to assess the situation and change the plan as needed.  One of the greatest factors in survival is adaptability.  Remember the ten areas of emergency preparedness:

As you adapt your plan to THIS emergency, think about these ten things and how your preparations before hand and your current resources can be used for you and your family.  Your first thoughts should be on SHELTER.  Find shelter from extreme temperatures, elements and physical danger, ie…  escaping from a burning building, shelter from a severe thunderstorm or tornado, car breakdown or lost, earthquake or hurricane, terrorism or intruder.

Because of the nature of emergencies, even the most prepared and self reliant of individuals can find themselves needing help.  In the case of injury, misjudgment or just happenstance that puts us beyond our own means we will need to communicate our needs to others.  That may be verbally or by calling 911, blowing on an emergency whistle or banging on something.  It may require making a signal fire or using a signaling mirror.  The important thing is to make contact and let someone know you need help.

Help Others

After securing yourself and your family, depending on the size and scale of the emergency there are going to be a lot of people that need your help.  Take a volunteer emergency training class like CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) now to learn how to safely and effectively help others in a large scale emergency.

Look at your neighborhood.  You know there are a lot of people who take emergency preparedness for granted or even dismiss it all together.  There are others like you who seriously try to prepare their families for a possible disaster.  If there is a large scale incident, it won’t discriminate between the prepared and the unprepared, everyone is going to be needed to help everyone else.  Think about your neighborhood.  Are there any elderly or people who have difficulty moving unassisted?  Are there any families with many children or who have special needs or disabilities?  Talk to them now and discuss what help they may need in an emergency.

First Aid:  Check, Call, Care

After you have taken care of yourself and your family, is there anyone around that needs first aid?  When you go to help, remember to check the environment around the victim for hidden dangers.  You don’t want to become a second victim and double the problem.  After checking the environment, check the victim to determine what is wrong.  Call for available help and give care to the victim as far as you have been trained.

In an emergency situation, you do what you need to do to help you, your family and those around you to survive the duration.  After the emergency, working together, you can rebuild and return to normal life as quickly and completely as possible.

  • Before
  1. Learn & Plan
  2. Prepare
  3. Practice
  • During
  1. Remain Calm
  2. Gather Information
  3. Think
  4. Act
  5. Help
  • After
  1. Help
  2. Talk About It
  3. Resume Normal Life

Once an emergency happens, other than staying calm, the first thing we need to do is gather information.   Quickly gather as much information as possible about the situation.

What we need to know

WHAT IS THE EMERGENCY?  Nothing is scarier than facing an unknown threat.  The more you know what you are facing, the better you will be able to respond to the situation.  The noise that woke you up, is it an earthquake?  An intruder?  A house fire?

WHAT SIZE IS THE EMERGENCY?  Is it just affecting you?  Your family?  Your neighborhood?  City?  State? Nation?

WHAT AREAS ARE AFFECTED? Is it in our room or the basement?  Our house or the neighbors? Our neighborhood or three blocks north?  Which city?  Which state?  Nation?

HOW SEVERE IS THE EMERGENCY?  Is it a category 1 tornado or a 5?  Is it a 2.5 scaled earthquake or an 8.5?  Is it a first degree burn or a third?  Heart burn or a heart attack?

HOW MUCH TIME DO I HAVE TO RESPOND?  Do I have seconds to escape my burning house?  Is there minutes before the tornado arrives?  Do I have hours before the wildfire reaches my house?  Days before the hurricane arrives?

WHAT IS THE ESTIMATED DURATION OF THE EMERGENCY?  Minutes?  Hours?  Days?  Weeks?  Longer?

WHAT DO COMMUNITY LEADERS AND EMERGENCY RESPONDERS WANT US TO DO?  Do they need volunteers?  Do we evacuate or shelter in place?  If we evacuate, which route do we take?  Is it safe to drink the incoming water?

WHAT IS THE STATUS OF MY FAMILY MEMBERS?  Are the kids at school?  How are they?  Are they sheltering at the school or are they coming home?  Can Mom and Dad make it home from work?  Are they ok?  Is Fido still in the backyard?

WHAT IS THE STATUS OF MY NEIGHBORS?  Does the old couple across the street need help?  How about the single mother of 4 two houses down?

How we gather information

What’s the first source of emergency information you think of?  Probably the Emergency Alert System (EAS).  The EAS was created from the old national Emergency Broadcast System (EBS) that was developed during the cold war to alert in case of a nuclear attack.  The EAS is now used and controlled in your local area to alert in time of emergencies, natural and manmade.  It is also used for Amber Alerts.  All television and radio stations are required by the FCC to broadcast EAS alerts in the event of an emergency.  Be aware that oftentimes news organizations are more concerned with being first with information than being accurate with information.  If possible, use more than one or two sources to get a more complete picture of what is happening.  Have a battery operated radio you can use if the power goes out.  Also listen to the Nation Ocean and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) weather channels.  An emergency alert radio that automatically turns on in the event of an emergency is a good safe guard for your family.

If there is time, local authorities and police may drive down the streets broadcasting the emergency information through loud speakers or going door to door.

Some communities even have what is called “Reverse 911”.  Instead of YOU calling emergency dispatch, an automated message is sent from dispatch to all the land phones in the affected area.  Mobile phones and unlisted phones are not called unless users signup to be part of the service.

On a personal level, we have five senses to help us gather information as well.  Look around and SEE what is going on.  LISTEN not only to the radio and television, but to family members and neighbors.  Listen for sounds that may signal impending dangers.  SMELL can sometimes tell us about hazards, like natural gas leaks, that may be difficult to see or hear.  Our sense of TOUCH can tell us if a door is warm, signifying fire on the other side; or if a piece of debris on the ground may not be stable to stand on.  TASTE can tell us if water or food is not safe to consume.

There are many ways to gather information in an emergency.  Use as many as you are able to, as quickly as possible so you know what you are facing and how to respond.

Camping is great practice!

  • Before
  1. Learn & Plan
  2. Prepare
  3. Practice
  • During
  1. Remain Calm
  2. Gather Information
  3. Think
  4. Act
  5. Help
  • After
  1. Help
  2. Talk About It
  3. Resume Normal Life

The old saying that “Practice makes perfect” applies to emergency preparedness as well. We practice our emergency plans for a number of reasons, first of which is so that when we need to use them we know HOW to use them. We practice so there is less time spent THINKING what we need to do and more time spent DOING what we need to do. In an emergency situation, seconds can be the difference between life and death.

“Table Top” Practice

Once we know what possible emergencies we could face, it is a good idea to sit down and have a “table top” practice where you verbally go through a scenario with your family. Talk through the steps you each take in the fictitious emergency. Discuss what could go wrong and what additional problems you may face, then what additional plans, actions or supplies could overcome the problems. Write them down and be sure everyone understands them.

When we are practicing, we are able to go through our plans, seeing what works and what doesn’t, without the stress of a real situation. We are able to think of possible obstructions or flaws in our plans and develop strategies to overcome them when we have the time and the rational thought of “peace time”. For example:

  • How do we change our emergency plans if something happens during the day when few family members are home?
  • What if phone lines don’t work?
  • What if the 5 year old sleeps through the fire alarm?
  • How do we evacuate with all of our children, or pets, or supplies if the roads are impassible?

It is also a good idea to physically walk through your different plans.

Fire Drill

How often do we hear tragic stories of children or adults who didn’t know what to do in the event of a fire? Have a “fire drill night” with your family. Have everyone go into different rooms and then set off the smoke alarm so everyone knows what it sounds like. Make sure there are at least two exits from each room and go out both. Have all family members meet ACROSS THE STREET in an exact location. Do it once or twice, then time it. After everyone has it down, choose a day to do it unannounced. Even do it a few times in the middle of the night.


Practice your family emergency communication plans. Start the family calling tree and time how long it takes for it to come back. Also, have a day that everyone is supposed to call the family out of state emergency contact at a certain time.


Practice your family evacuation routes. Find different routes to and from work, school, church and your evacuation areas. Choose a day to hike with your family and your 72 hour kits to your out of neighborhood evacuation area.

Tools & Supplies

Practice using your emergency tools and supplies. Does everyone know how to use all the items in their 72 hour kits, car kits, work and school kits? Do you know how to siphon from your water storage or how to use the water filter? How about simple car repairs like changing a tire?


Practice living without the utilities. Have everyone practice shutting off the electricity and water – don’t shut off the gas during practice. Choose a weekend where live without running water and electricity. Also turn down the thermostat. How will you stay warm? How will you see at night? How will you prepare food? Do you have enough water stored? What in your plans work and what doesn’t? What changes will you make?

Go Camping!

One of the best ways to practice emergency preparedness principles with your family is to go camping. You use many of the basics of survival in a fun and recreational atmosphere where if something DOES go wrong, you are not in a life threatening situation. Use each camping experience to try out a new technique or aspect of emergency preparedness.

As we practice our preparedness plans, we will not only perfect them and make them better, but we will be able to prove to ourselves and our family members that we CAN be prepared and we CAN have that peace of mind that comes from the knowledge that our plans DO work.

  • Before
  1. Learn & Plan
  2. Prepare
  3. Practice
  • During
  1. Remain Calm
  2. Gather Information
  3. Think
  4. Act
  5. Help
  • After
  1. Help
  2. Talk About It
  3. Resume Normal Life

Survival SolutionsBefore an emergency strikes, the first thing on your list is to LEARN and PLAN; this is your mental preparation.  Before you run out and buy the kits and the gear, you need to do some research.  Emergency preparedness is 90% mental and only 10% stuff.  You can have all the cool gadgets and gear, but if you don’t know the basics of survival and how to APPLY your supplies to the given situation, you will have a difficult time making it through the incident. 

Find out what emergencies are most likely in your area.  Do you live near a fault line?  Is your area prone to tornados?  Are you in a hilly or mountainous area prone to landslides or avalanches?  What is the weather like?  Are you near a coast and need to worry about hurricanes or tsunamis?  What about flooding?  Do you live near highways or railroads where hazardous chemicals are transported?  Do you live near an area where hazardous substances are stored or manufactured?  Contact your local city or county emergency manager to learn what potential hazards are in your area. 

Once you know what emergencies are likely, learn how the 10 areas of survival needs apply.  You will shelter differently if you are at home in the summer than you would if you are stranded in your car or evacuating with your 72 hour kit in the winter.  You may not need to worry about cooking food in the aftermath of an auto accident, but you would if an earthquake or hurricane stranded your family for a few weeks.  Learn what emergency supplies are necessary and what isn’t.  Apply your family emergency preparedness budget to items that you will REALLY need, not just stuff that looks cool.  Learn how to use your emergency supplies, otherwise they are just taking up valuable space and resources. 

Learn how to gather information in an emergency.  There is the E.A.S. – Emergency Alert System on radio and television.  Learn what channels are the primary emergency information sources for your area.  N.O.A.A. weather channels give a constant update or the weather and emergencies in your area.  Some cities and counties have a REVERSE 911 system that actually sends out an automated call with the emergency information to all the phone numbers in the phonebook.  Mobile numbers have to register to receive this service.  Sometime if there is time, emergency responders may go door to door, street to street informing residents about a coming emergency. 

Be proactive and take training classes in emergency preparedness.  The Red Cross not only teaches different levels of first aid, but disaster prevention, preparedness and response.  C.E.R.T. (Community Emergency Response Team) classes and certification are offered in many cities.  CERT trains individuals how to organize and how to be safe, effective volunteers in an emergency, doing the greatest good for the greatest number of people in the least amount of time.

For more information on emergency preparedness check out  Order the free book Are You Ready? from FEMA Distribution, 1-800-480-2520.  Learn about emergency supplies at and receive an emergency preparedness solution for the day when you become a fan of Survival Solutions on Facebook.

Develop family emergency communication plans.  Have a FAMILY PHONE TREE that quickly gets information out to family members.  Also have an emergency OUT OF STATE CONTACT.   After a disaster it is often easier to call long distance rather than locally.  Make sure everyone knows who the contact is and when they need to be called.  During an incident, family members “check in” so your contact has everyone’s status and location.  Get permission from your contact beforehand and let them know what their role is. 

Plan and develop your family EMERGENCY EVACUATION PLANS.  Have both near home (walking distance) AND out of area emergency meeting places.  Learn plans for evacuation from work and school.  Are there evacuation shelters in your area?  Where are they? 

What if you can’t or shouldn’t evacuate?  Do you have family SHELTER IN PLACE PLANS?   Consider making emergency safe rooms where you and your family can shelter from toxic gas clouds using plastic sheeting & duct tape.  Also learn about what your family can make it through the isolation of a reverse quarantine during a pandemic.

Prefessional Emergency Responders

In a large emergency, professional emergency responders will not be able to help everyone.


 What is an emergency?  Any disruption of normal activities.  These can be naturally occurring emergencies like hurricanes, tsunamis, and earthquakes.  They can be accidental, manmade emergencies like dam breaks, power failures, chemical spills and car accidents or intentional like terrorism.         

Large emergencies can affect nations and states while smaller emergencies affect cities, neighborhoods, families and individuals.  Even a loss of a job can be an emergency.  No matter the size of the incident, it is still an emergency to those affected.         

Depending on the LOCATION, SIZE, and SEVERITY of the incident; professional emergency responders may not be able to give you any assistance – NO MATTER HOW CRITICAL YOUR SITUATION MAY BE.  In large-scale disasters, emergency responders’ first priorities are in areas like schools, businesses, government buildings and areas with large numbers of people.  Individual residencies may be left on their own for days or even weeks.         

So what do we do?        

The answer is Emergency SELF RELIANCE.  We must be prepared to care for ourselves, our families, our property and neighbors for a MINIMUM of 3 days or longer without any professional or outside help.  No matter what the emergency is, no matter where you live, no matter who you are, no matter what resources you have; there are things you can do to help you and your family’s survival and recovery.     

Before, During & After an Emergency  

  •  Before
    1. Learn & Plan
    2. Prepare
    3. Practice
  • During
    1. Remain Calm
    2. Gather Information
    3. Think
    4. Act
    5. Help
  • After
    1. Help
    2. Talk About It
    3. Resume Normal Life

10 Areas of Survival Needs    

  • Food
  • Water
  • Sanitation
  • Shelter/Heat
  • Cooking
  • Light
  • Communication
  • First Aid
  • Personal Items, Clothing
  • Important Papers, Money


 Survival Solutions  

I just started this blog to get out the information I have learned in my own research, studies, learning and experience in the emergency preparedness field.  Please feel free to refer us to your friends and neighbors.  The more people are prepared, the less people will be a burden on those who are.  Will you be part of the solution or the problem?