What would you do if a disaster occurred while you were separated from your family and you couldn’t reach them to see if they were ok? If you had an out-of-state contact, your family could text that person to provide an update on their safety status and location, and your contact could notify other family members as they checked in and assist in your reunification.
“We recommend that all residents talk with their families and establish an out-of-state emergency contact and meeting place in the event of an emergency,” said Ron Lane, director of the San Diego County Office of Emergency Services.
“Then we encourage them to take a few minutes out of their day on Friday to put that plan into practice.”
In San Diego County, County employees, 68 schools and up to 1,700 businesses will be participating in a nationwide “9/11 Drill Down for Safety” in partnership with the Safe America Foundation. In San Diego, employees and students are encouraged to text a simple message to their emergency contact that says, “I am safe. Heading to meeting place.”
The drill will take place between 10:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. today.
The exercise will also serve as a test of our region’s phone texting surge capabilities as Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, Cricket and T-Mobile are participating and plan to track the number of text messages sent during this short time period.
The drill has three goals: to influence people to select an out-of-state emergency contact for their family; confirm that all family members are trained to text a message to that contact; and to ensure that the phone system can handle a surge in text messages or phonecalls during a specific time frame.
To pledge to drill, go to www.safeamerica.org. To obtain additional information on preparing for an emergency, visit www.readysandiego.org and download a copy of the family disaster plan under the Family tab.