Wind up your first conversation with some concrete steps each of you can take the next day and the next week. Make a list of every family member and where she/he is in a typical week. Work schedules, school routines, camps, daycare, evening extracurricular classes or sporting events, and carpool routines should be included.

Of course, there will be exceptions for everyone (special school activities, vacations, business trips, etc.). Don’t try to get every detail; the purpose is to capture the general whereabouts and patterns of each family member in the event you need to find each other. For example, if cell phone communication were to be disrupted this information could enable you to meet up more quickly.

Often this kind of information is already written down elsewhere on a calendar, the refrigerator or a whiteboard. For your disaster planning purposes, transfer this information onto a smaller, portable format (such as 3 x 5 index cards). The following is an example of what might be included:

Mom – Works at (address for her office; telephone number, cell number, and e-mail at work) Monday—Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Commutes about 15 minutes each day along East First Street and often stops on the way home at the shopping center. Weekends she and dad run errands, often together.

Dad – Works at (address of his office; telephone number, cell number, and e-mail at work) Monday—Friday from 6:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Commutes about 30 minutes each way, mostly on Interstate 8. On Tuesday, stops at the gym (address and phone number) for an hour.

Make a note of the head of household’s Social Security number with their date and place of birth (this information is required if you ever need to apply for disaster relief). For security purposes it would be advisable to devise a code for numbers to avoid possible identity theft.

You may also want to list your out-of-town relatives in the same manner. If your city or region is struck by a disaster, real time communications may be patchy at best. Your extended family can be a critical part of your disaster response network. As they will probably not have been affected, arrange for them to use their cell or landline on your behalf.

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