Create a household emergency communication plan

Your family may not be together when a disaster happens. Plan ahead to make sure you will be able to find one another.

Need to know

  • Takes about 30 minutes to do this activity
  • Review and update information every year

Before you start

It’s helpful to do this activity with your household, so everyone understands how it works and who to call.

Tip: If phone lines are jammed, use text messages, email, or social media to communicate. Data-based services are less likely to experience major interruptions.

Download A household communication plan template


1. Identify an out-of-area-contact

In a disaster, local phone and mobile networks may be overwhelmed, making it hard to reach one another. Pick a friend or family member who lives outside the Bay Area to act as a central information source.

Separated household members can contact this person to:

  • Let them know they are safe
  • Find out who else has checked in
  • Communicate other important updates

Ask your out-of-area contact to sign up for AC Alerts.

2. Write down important phone numbers

Make a paper list of everyone in your household’s phone numbers, as well as other important contacts such as close family or friends, doctors, and veterinarians.

Keep copies in your:

3. Pick a place to meet if you get separated

Choose a spot that is easy to get to and will be easy for everyone in the household to remember, like a park or landmark.

It’s a good idea to have a backup meeting spot in case your main meeting place is inaccessible due to the disaster.

What’s next

Review your plan every year with your household:

  • Make sure contact information is up-to-date
  • Confirm your out-of-area contact is still able to act in this capacity

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