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The Great Shakeout and Disaster Communications

This morning, I was reminded by my cousin about the largest earthquake drill in history, at 10:18 a.m. Pacific Time. Over 14 million people have registered to participate. If you haven’t already, you can join the drill by registering at this website.

Then take at least one more step to increase your readiness for disaster.

As an example of something you can do, develop or update your contact information in a family communications plan. And, be sure to include redundant pathways for reaching people.

My cousin, Dr. Monica Gowan–who is a Natural Hazards and Disaster Resilience Professional–lived in New Zealand for the past several years and personally experienced its recording breaking earthquakes.  But, while she was traveling in Minnesota, the February 22, 2012 Christchurch earthquake hit. A Christchurch colleague lost cell phone connection with his family in the Pacific Northwest, yet he was able to text Monica. She then posted a message for him on his Facebook wall relaying that he was okay, which his family was able to see..

So, you don’t have to live in an area at-risk for disaster to experience one. All you have to do is be a visitor on a holiday or traveling for business. Or, maybe you will find yourself concerned about someone who is in a disaster, or wanting people to know how they might get a hold of you if you find yourself in one.

Final tip from my cousin– be sure to test your plan!

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