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Thursday, May 1, 2014

Phoning a friend is a good step in the right direction to preparedness

Yesterday, April 30, 3014, was the first America’s PrepareAthon!  – a nationwide, community-based campaign for action meant to improve public understanding of disasters, motivate preparedness action, and inspire community resilience planning.

Here at the Arizona Division of Emergency Management, we talk about and promote preparedness regularly. When deciding what we should ask people to do for PrepareAthon, one of my co-workers pointed out that getting prepared is a good idea that most of us hope to get around to someday.

So we asked ourselves what was one small thing we could encourage people to do on the Day of Action, a place to start in the make a plan, build a kit, be informed and inspire others world of truly being prepared.

We decided to ask our coworkers and the public to start with a phone call. During a disaster, it may be easier to call long distance than across town. An Out-of-Town contact is someone who those in your family can call or text in an emergency to let them know they are safe.

The plan for the day was to call or text the Out-of-Town contact and then pin the location on a map we had in our main building or to our online map to get a visual of where people would be calling. It was great to see where people’s contacts were located across the nation, and even in the Netherlands.

If you are reading this and you do not have an Out-of-Town contact, get one. Call or text a friend or relative who lives in another state, ask them to be to your family’s contact (and maybe offering to be theirs in return), and update your Family Communication Plan. A Family Communication Plan details where your family will reunite and how your family will stay connected in the event of an emergency.

 If you don't have a Family Communication Plan, download a free template from at Writing and reviewing a Family Communication Plan is an important part of being prepared. Your family may not be in the same place in the event of a no-notice emergency. It’s important to plan how family members will stay in contact.
We hope that the Day of Action helped everyone get one step closer to being prepared.

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