Last night, there was a clip on TV from a resident in the area of the Mississippi spillway that was just opened for the first time in 40 years. The point made by the 'victim' was that there was no notice that the Corps of Engineers was actually going to (and did) open the spillway, so they had no time to prepare. The statement is really telling: record flooding has been moving down the river for more than a week. Someone who has lived in the flood plain for years was surprised and considers himself a victim. Likely, he is a victim only of his own failure to plan and pay attention -- even way out west, I heard about the fact that the Corps was considering opening the spillway 12 hours before they did. Given the week's notice of record flooding moving down the Mississippi, the resident could have had the car packed and a communication plan in effect so his family could rapidly evacuate together.
What is your plan to communicate, regroup and (if necessary) evacuate in case of emergency? If emergency or disaster strike when you and your family are at work and school, where are your rally points? Rally points are where you meet when you can't get home. You should have multiple, which should include at least two physical locations and two call-in locations. Of course, part of your plan is to select speople for call-ins who live outside your immediate area and you have prepared them to knows to be available by phone if the news features an emergency in your area. You may even want to include a free e-mail box that all share, like gmail or yahoo.
Why multiples -- isn't that confusing? What if your only rally point is now in the middle of a flood? If your cell phone or electronic devices works, if you don't have a system, you are still chasing your tail. What if the electronic devices don't work either? Sure would be nice to have an alternate rally point, or two more with some priority order attached.
Don't make it too complicated -- If we can't get to rally point #1, go to #2. Call grandma at 510-555-1313 if both are blocked. If you can get to a library, go to the yahoo account and check the DRAFT e-mails AND leave a draft with your location.
If you have a plan, review and update it. It will be difficult to move out --possibly until it is too late -- if you are worried because you can't contact your loved ones. If you don't have a plan, NOW is a good time to make one -- even involve all affected by the plan, as they may have skills or info that will make it SIMPLE!!