July’s tip of the month is to arrange an out-of-area contact person and complete an out-of-area contact card for each of your family members.
During disasters, phone services and other means of communications often become disrupted. Anxiety adds to the stress of the event as you wonder if your loved ones are safe. An out-of-area contact can ease worry regarding your family’s well-being.
If you are separated from your loved ones when disaster strikes, you will wonder how and where they are. The stress of the event may make it difficult to remember information as routine as phone numbers. We recommend every family member in your household have an out-of-area contact card in their wallet, purse, or backpack at all times.
Ask an out of area-of-area friend or family member to be your contact person. This is the person each of your family members will call to let them know how and where they are. This information will be relayed back to each of your family members as they call and report their status as well.
Phone lines were “hardened” years ago to withstand nuclear attacks and are quite resistant to damage. It’s difficult to make local calls not because of damage, but because of the number of people that are trying to make phone calls at the same time. However, you are typically able to make long distance calls. You should always keep a phone at home that does not require electricity. Cordless phones require electricity! If the power is out – your cordless phone is out!
Pay phones are part of the emergency services network, and are a priority to be restored to service. Tape coins needed to use a pay phone to your out-of-area contact card so you are always able to make a call if a disaster strikes.
Cellular phone systems may be damaged or overwhelmed during a disaster. Since texting takes up much less of the wireless system capacity than voice-to-voice call, you may be able to get through by texting when the system is unable to make or receive calls.
Print the City of Brisbane's Out-of-Area Contact Card. Complete this card and give one to each of your family members. Remember to tape the necessary coins to to if just in case you need to use a pay phone!