Skip to main content

July: Family Communication PlanCreating a family communication plan starts with one simple question: “What if?”

  • “What if something happens and I am not with my family?”
  • “Will I be able to reach them?”
  • “How will I know they are safe?”
  • “How will they know I am safe?”

Today we have more ways to communicate with one another than ever before. We are used to staying in touch with cell phones, messaging, social media and email, but disasters can change things. These services may not be available. Cell phone towers can quickly become overloaded with people trying to reach friends and family. If the power is out at your home, cordless phones and internet service will not work either. 


Ensure the ability to communicate with family members, roommates and friends during a disaster.

Take Action

Create a list of contact information for family members and include other important resources such as medical facilities, doctors, schools and other service providers. Specific guidance can be found on the FEMA Create Your Family Emergency Communication Plan.
Make sure everyone has a copy of this contact information. Consider keeping a paper copy of this information with you to avoid having to rely on phones, computers and other electronic devices.
Have regular meetings to review and practice your plan.

All Students

Write down the following and have it available to your roommates:

  • One to two emergency contacts (such as a family member or parent). Don’t assume you or your roommates will be able to reference these contacts on an electronic device!
  • For out-of-state and international students, try to establish a local emergency contact– someone you know that is readily available to assist you.
  • Document any medical issues or other important information (such as medications) in case first responders need relevant information.
  • Identified meeting location in case you are unable to return to your dorm or residence.

Write down the following and have it available to your family:

  • Emergency contacts for close family members, including phone numbers and email. Again, don’t assume you will be able to reference this information on an electronic device!
  • Location of emergency meeting locations if family members need to pick you up quickly.
  • The contact information of your roommates and/or close friends whom they could contact if you are unreachable.