September is Emergency Preparedness Month. Look for a weekly tip from the Office of Emergency Preparedness throughout the month on UVa Today.
Listen to the UVA Today Radio Show report on this story by Marian Anderfuren:
September 15, 2011 — When an incident occurs, what do you want more than anything else? You want to know if your friends and family are OK. Communication is everything, so plan now how to best communicate before disaster strikes.
You and your family may not be together when a disaster strikes. It is important to create a communications plan.
* Identify an out-of-state contact; it may be easier to make a long-distance telephone call than a local one.
* Write down and carry with you a list of important family contact information, including home phones, business phones, cell phones and e-mail addresses.
* Texting may be the best way to let friends and family know you are OK. If possible, stay off of the phone except to report an emergency. Phone lines need to remain open for emergency personnel.
* Know where you will get information.
* Create an account in U.Va. Alerts – Sign up to be notified if there is a major crisis on Grounds.
* Bookmark the University's home page and the "back-up" home page, the best source of official news from the University during and after an emergency. The back-up site will be used if local servers fail during the emergency.
* Follow @uva on Twitter and like the University of Virginia on Facebook. Do this now so you don't have to search for it during an incident. You can also be our eyes and ears; use these sites to tell us what you're seeing and hearing.
What if you are the one who needs help but are unable to communicate? Remember "ICE" (in case of emergency). Put an entry in your cell phone with this heading and list a parent, spouse or friend for someone to contact in case you can't. Check out ICE for info.
In the support of National Preparedness Month, Hoos Ready will host a Make Your Own Safety Kit event on Sept. 25, from noon to 2 p.m., at the McCormick Road first-year housing quad.
For information, contact U.Va.'s Office of Emergency Preparedness at 434-982-0565 or firstname.lastname@example.org.