When a disaster strikes, there’s no time to figure out who you should call or what you should do. Just think back to the last scare that you had – perhaps a hurricane or a tropical storm, and you’ll realize that there’s really no time like the present to set up a strategy that you can use in the event of an emergency. The emergency phone chain is a great arrangement that makes it possible to let everyone know what is happening whenever some type of critical situation develops.
Creating an Emergency Phone Chain with the Neighbors
Your initial strategy might be to decide which neighbors should be included in the phone chain. Questions you might ask yourself include:
- Are you planning to involve neighbors from blocks other than your own?
- Do you want to include the immediate family of anyone who is on the chain list?
- Should children who are away at college be included on the chain list?
- Do you want to create two emergency phone chains – one for school-related events and a second one for natural disasters or national emergencies?
Knowing these answers will simplify the process for you once you begin to gather the information. You will have ready answers for anyone who has a question.
Decide on your Communication Strategy
Are you going to ask for land lines, phone numbers for places of employment, and cell phones? Typically, it’s a good idea to include each of those phone numbers in case you cannot reach the individual you are calling on the first attempt. Ask participants to include the best times to reach them at each phone number.
Do you want to include all adults from each family or just use one point of contact? While it makes sense just to include one person from each family since this will allow the phone chain to be completed more quickly, it could also prevent everyone from receiving a call.
While this is a straightforward process, there are a few glitches that can arise. For example, what if you cannot reach the next person on the list? What happens then? If you have a backup plan in place, then you won’t need to worry about that. One idea is to simply call the next person in line on the list yourself (which means that everyone on the calling list must have a complete set of phone numbers), and another idea is to have a second individual listed for each family.
How an Emergency Phone Chain Works
With the traditional phone chain, the first individual makes a phone call to a designated person, who in turn calls another designated individual. Each individual in the chain has a specific person to call until the last person, who has no phone call to make.
It’s important to keep the phone numbers updated on the list at all times. Therefore, you should select one individual, perhaps yourself, who will act as the point of contact for the submission of new phone numbers.