If you haven’t had the pleasure (or displeasure, depending on your perspective :-)) of sitting through one of my presentations, then you haven’t yet heard me talk at length about getting in touch with your loved ones following a crisis. (See previous post The Silence will be Deafening for information regarding general communications planning).
In my previous post I mention designating an out-of-state relative or friend to contact via land line because we learned in 9/11 that using a landline to call out-of-state during a crisis is far more effective than calling in-state or using cell phones. But what if you don’t have an out-of-state relative or friend with whom you can trust such a responsibility? Are there any other ways to let the world know you have survived and are ok? We learned from Hurricane Katrina that this is one of the most important aspects of post incident response as far as families and loved ones are concerned. Quite honestly its a burden on emergency services to families pushing and pulling every which way to ascertain the status of their loved ones. But at the same time, I as a mother, wife, and daughter can understand the urgent need to find your family. So…what else can be done? Below are some websites with details on how they can help.
- American Red Cross Registry – www.safeandwell.org – This website allows friends and family to search the list of those who have registered themselves as “safe and well”. The results will display first name, last name and a brief message.
- Next of Kin Registry – www.nokr.org – NOKR was established as a free emergency contact system. They operate in the United States plus 87 other countries. They are a non-profit organization dedicated to bridging rapid emergency contact information. ***My favorite part of using this system is the free decal they will mail you if you send a self-addressed stamped envelope. It’s intended to be placed on your driver’s license and functions sort of like your organ donor’s symbol (and by the way, if you aren’t an organ donor, shame on you. What do you need those for after your time is over? Unless you have religious objections…sign up!) But anyway, the idea is that the decal would alter emergency services that you are signed up in the system. They can then use that information to announce to your loved ones that you have been found and/or reach out to your loved ones once you are found.***
definitely take some time to check out the sites and make an informed decision as to which one is right for you and yours. The next step is to actually register and then educate your friends and family regarding which system you have chosen and how they can utilize it if they are ever looking for you following a crisis.
Parting thought…don’t think that Facebook or any other form of social media is going to handle this for you. (Although Facebook is testing emergency communications alerts through their site, but it’s still in the testing phase) Those sites will be bombarded with all types of messages from the “save me” to the “what’s up” during an event. I really recommend something such as these instead. They are designed for just this use and until social media catches up, these are you best bets.