An Out of Town Emergency Contact Ties It All Together

As you build your Emergency Plan, make designating an out of town emergency contact one of your first priorities.  (Do this immediately after making your detailed list of the people included in your Emergency Plan.) For some of us, the identity of out of town is a "no-brainer."  For others, it may require some thought.  Use these suggestions to help you narrow down the best out of town contact for your family.

They need to be somewhat available. Although this person probably won't need to come rescue you, they may have several people contacting them.  They need to have the time, patience, and availability to communicate with many people, even some that they might not know.

They need to be skillful (or at lest proficient) with different methods of communication.  Emergency messages may come in a variety of forms.  Land line phone, cell phone, texting, and email are the basic building blocks of a communication plan.  In a disaster, we often have a short opportunity to get word out that we are alright or that we have a need.  We may borrow a cell phone, dash off a quick email before the power or internet fails, or send a text in hopes that some tower picks up and relays the message.

Your out of town contact should be able to remain clear headed and ready to handle a bit of stress.  This person may have to relay troublesome messages.  And they may hear that a family member is stranded or in need.  Clearly, they'll provide the most benefit by remaining rational and available.

You may want to consider if your out of town contact is well-liked and easy to talk to. If you are asking friends and family to contact someone during an emergency, try to ensure that they won't hesitate for personal reasons.

Finally, your out or town contact should be resourceful.  When you are in need of information or assistance, you're going to be glad that you have someone out there getting the job done.  They should "buy in" to your emergency planning and understand how they might fit in to any scenario.

This post helps you write an Emergency Plan.  We're taking a bite out of this project each week at Everyday Providence on Facebook.

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