Core Function Three: Communication

Communication systems let you contact first responders, warn staff of danger, keep off-duty staff and families informed about events at the facility, contact transportation companies, track the status of supply shipments, etc. Communication systems also let staff at your facility ensure that their families are safe during a disaster.

Maintain and test your communications systems, including your fire alarm's connection to the local fire department.

Ensure that your disaster plan considers the following topics.

Means of Communication

Identify in your disaster plan all the means of communication that your facility or agency has (examples can include land-based phones, cell phones, pagers, amateur radios, and fax machines). Outline the procedures for the use of each one.

Plan for all possible disruptions of your regular means of communication, from a disruption that lasts less than a day to a total communications failure. If you lose the service of land-based phones and cell phones, you will need back-up systems (such as satellite phones and walkie-talkie radios). The last resort might consist of relying on runners to carry messages.

Phone Numbers

Include contact information for all staff in your disaster plan. Such information can be home phone numbers, cell phone numbers, pagers, street addresses, e-mail addresses, etc. Similarly, keep a list of the phone numbers of the families of your residents, individuals, and clients.

Include all of your emergency phone numbers, including the local fire department, ambulance service, police, transportation companies, shelters, phone and power companies, hospitals, etc.

Ensure that all of the preceding phone numbers stay current in the disaster plan. Also, ensure that emergency phone numbers are posted clearly near each phone, on bulletin boards, and in other prominent locations.