Contacting Families, Friends, and Key Businesses After a Weather Emergency
When disaster strikes, thoughts turn to the welfare of family, friends, and colleagues. Here are several sites to help ease the worry.
- During a disaster, register yourself on the Red Cross Safe and Well List so that family and friends know of your well-being. You also can use the database to search for missing loved ones.
- Register with or search the Next of Kin National Registry (NOKR). This emergency contact system can help if you or your family member is missing, injured or dead. NOKR is the central depository for Emergency Contact information in the U.S. and 87 other countries.
- If you are a tourist or other foreign national and cannot reach family members directly, contact your embassy or consulate.
Mobile airwaves are often put to the test during emergency situations. It’s best to leave airwaves open for emergency calls. Check in with family and friends via text message or through e-mail or social networks using wifi networks. That takes stress off traditional networks.
Wait before you redial: The Federal Communications Commission recommends patience if you place a call during an emergency situation and can’t get through. When you hit redial too quickly, the data from the handset to the cell sites doesn’t have enough time to clear before you resend the same data. Best advice: Count to ten before you hit “send” again.
Then it’s on to the task of recovery:
- Communication is more important than ever. Call your creditors and ask for help. Ask about programs in place to defer your loan payments, waive late fees, or raise your credit limit temporarily while you get back on your feet.
- Get a copy of your credit report. If you've lost your financial records and need help identifying your creditors — or want to check on possible tampering with your accounts — get your credit report. It's free from annualcreditreport.com, or 1-877-322-8228.
- Many people will be asking for your personal information. Ask them for appropriate identification before you give it out. Scammers sometimes pose as government officials, asking for personal financial information or money to apply for aid that you can request on your own for free. Government officials will not ask you for money in exchange for your information or the promise of a check.
For more information to help you cope in the event of a weather emergency, visit Dealing with Weather Emergencies.