Quick Question: How do I Communicate with Family during a Disaster?

Quick Question: How do I Communicate with Family during a Disaster?
Relying on perfect cell service during a disaster? DON’T.

Having a plan for multiple communication methods can be life-saving during a crisis. So here’s a few different scenarios you should be aware of and talk through with your family:

  • If you’re having trouble with your cell signal, opt for text messages or WiFi calling.
  • If you have spotty service but still have connection to WiFi, try messaging through different apps like Zello or even social media apps like Instagram or Facebook Messenger, which may enable you to get messages out if the cell networks are only partially operational.
  • If you have connection to the internet or have cell service but your phone battery may die soon, try updating a status on your social media pages or changing your outgoing voicemail message. Include key details like “It is [day and time]. I am evacuating and en route to [insert location]. I am with [name(s)]. Call [name] if you need more info, I told them additional details.”

NOTE: Changing your voicemail message SHOULD NOT BE USED FOR RESCUE PURPOSES. If you need to be rescued, calling 9-1-1 should be your first attempt! Changing your voicemail message should be used for the purpose of communicating messages to your family or anyone who may be trying to contact you and learn you are safe. Remember, you WILL need cell service or WiFi to change the message. It’s not the ideal option, but it could help if you are anxious about getting the information to your loved ones.

If you need emergency services Call 911. Note, many counties now enabled the ability to text 911, but calling 911 is much more effective. If you need to text, make sure you include key details like your name, an address or description of the location, and information about the emergency services you need.  If you text, also remember to look out for a bounce-back message — this will come through to tell you if your local 911 doesn’t accept texts.


Still have questions about how to communicate with your family during a disaster? No problem. Feel free to reach out to us directly. We've got you covered. 

If you have additional questions, send them our way!

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