Ready U explores communication during a disasterWritten by Kristen Criswell | | firstname.lastname@example.org
One of the first victims of emergency situations and disasters is communication.
“During an emergency, there’s either too much, not enough or the wrong kind of communication,” said Tom Barnhizer, deputy director of the Lucas County Emergency Management Agency (EMA). “When people aren’t able to communicate, they’re kind of at a loss until they can get that information.”
During its Feb. 28 Ready U session, “I’m talking to you … ,” representatives from the Lucas County EMA and the Red Cross of Greater Toledo, as well as other public safety officials, will discuss communication during a disaster.
Barnhizer said individuals should have a communication plan in case of a disaster. Individuals should decide what type of communication they want to use and have a backup, he said.
“You need to decide if you’re to use a home phone or a cell. Both can be unreliable. Cell phones can be overwhelmed or batteries could die,” Barnhizer said. “In a house you could use a portable phone, but if you lose power and that phone can’t be recharged, you should have a backup hard wire phone.”
Barnhizer said people should carry a written backup of important numbers they’d need in case of an emergency; family members’ cell or work phone numbers, doctors’ phone numbers and insurance numbers. Families should also establish an out-of-town contact to help communicate with others about what’s going on.
“Sometimes, telephone lines or communication towers may be down locally, but you can call long-distance. It’s important to arrange a third party in a distant town to call and help communicate the situation to others,” he said.
Individuals and families should also set up a location to meet in case they can’t communicate with one another, Barnhizer said. There should be two meeting locations one near the home, in case of a fire, and another outside the neighborhood in case of an emergency like a gas leak, he said.
Susan Ross Wells of 13abc will lead the hourlong event, which starts at 7 p.m. in the main Toledo-Lucas County Public Library, 325 N. Michigan St. For more about Ready U programs, visit ready-u.com.
Toledo Free Press is a media sponsor for the Ready U program.