Make Your Family Findable – Spring Break Edition!

It’s Spring!!!  

Finally, right?  Even though in most places, it wasn’t a bad winter weather-wise, it’s definitely time to shed the gloves, hats and boots and break out the sandals and spend more time outdoors.

Whether you and your family are getting ready for vacation or sending the kids  off on Spring Break, here are a couple of things to add to your smartphone or suitcase before you leave.  Don’t worry, they won’t take up much space.  And they might just help keep you and your family safe.
Another great way to keep the family safe while away from home, is to make sure they’re findable in five minutes or less. That’s a lesson that Senator Evan Bayh learned the hard way when he and his wife found themselves in Tokyo during the Fukushima earthquake.  He was doing press, she was shopping across town and suddenly, they quake struck and they were on their own.  Yes he had a staff that was eventually able to reunite them.  But if you’re light on staff, here are some great tips to keep tabs no matter where you are or what you’re doing.
Don’t have time to read the whole post?  Just right click to download the Make Your Family Findable Shortcut Sheet
Making Your Family Findable
Smartphones, tablets and notebook computers are a phenomenal way to stay in touch with each other during an emergency.  Whether you send an email, text, tweet or Facebook message, you can find out the location and condition of everyone you love in seconds.   In a dire emergency, you can even send help, confirm or update emergency plans and even mobilize family and friends to be at the side of someone who’s been injured, using real time information. 
Since emergencies are by nature, completely unpredictable, the best way to prepare yourself and your family is to give yourselves as many different avenues of communication as possible.   You never know which one will make the difference.
So going back to our example, during earthquakes in Japan, cell phone towers barely worked because of earthquake damage and overloaded networks.  But Wi-Fi was up and running.  So what kept the Japanese connected with their families and the outside world?  Twitter, Facebook, Skype and YouTube!   Whether we’re talking about tornadoes in Oklahoma, wildfires in Colorado or Superstorm Sandy, giving yourself and your family options is a smart idea.
Update Your Smartphones
When you created your Family Evacuation Plan (if you haven’t done that yet, go do it now – we’ll wait for you), you listed the phone numbers, email addresses and social media addresses for each family member in your household. 
Now we’re going to take that one step further by adding all of that information to each family member’s smartphones.  While you’re at it, add new contacts on everyone’s phones for all of your out-of-area emergency contacts. 
Direct Messaging
If cell phone service is down and you are unable to text, don’t forget that Twitter and Facebook can also be used to send direct messages.  Those are personal messages that only go to the recipient – not broadcast to the whole world. If you don’t know how to send a direct message, here’s a quick tutorial. 
First, you need to make sure that every member of your family is following or has “liked” all of the other family members on Twitter and Facebook.  That will enable you to direct message each other.
  • For Twitter, click on Messages, then Direct Messages and then type in @ and the family member’s username.  Then type in your message and hit send.
  • For Facebook, click the little message icon at the top of your page (between the little people and the little earth).  Then click Send New Message and type in the name of the recipient or recipients and click send.
When Time Is An Issue…
Using a social media platform like HootSuite.com may help.  With HootSuite, you can send a single message that can be posted to Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn simultaneously, ensuring that your family or friends would see your message immediately, no matter what site they happen to be on at the moment.
The Value Of A Photo
During the Joplin tornado, even lifelong residents found themselves disoriented when the tornado turned their normal landmarks into kindling. 
If your spouse or kids don’t know where they are after an emergency and need help a quick photo texted or uploaded to Instagram or Facebook could help you locate them.  This is especially true of GPS enabled phones or photos with geolocation.
Creating A Communications Plan
Once you and your family have updated your phones and completed your evacuation plans, sit down with them to discuss the ways you can use technology to stay in touch with each other during a disaster. 
Come up with some sample scenarios; for example, if a disaster were to happen while your family members were at work, at school or running errands during a normal day. 
  • How would you connect with each other? 
  • Would you text each other, or would calling or emailing be faster? 
  • If you have teens or young adults at home, their natural proclivity may be to send out a text or a tweet on Twitter, to update everyone, including you, on their location or situation. 
Find out the types of communication everyone prefers and then create an emergency communication plan that makes sense for your family.
What If?
Another great discussion to have with your family, especially with school age children, is what they would do if they had to get a hold of you but the cell phone system was out, or what to do if there was an area-wide blackout.    Don’t laugh, that actually happened to us in California!
Kids are so used to technology that they might not have the experience that they need to do things the old school way.   The best way to plan is to give yourselves as many ways as possible to stay connected.  Then if one or two normal methods are unusable, you’ll all simply turn to a different method to reach each other. 
Grab The Sat Phone
If you’re in an area with frequent emergencies like tornadoes or hurricanes, live out in the country or have a family member in a foreign country, consider getting satellite phones. 
They work in remote areas where there is no cell phone coverage and when cell towers are down.  If you don’t want the expense of a dedicated satellite phone, there are a few devices that turn your smartphone into a satellite phone.  
What’s The Code?
Lastly, consider creating a Family Emergency Code or Word.  This is a code or word that only you and your immediate family know. 
When a family member says it, texts it or emails it to the rest of the family, it signals that they’re in trouble and need help. 
It’s only to be used in extreme emergency and means that everyone needs to drop what they’re doing and establish contact with each other, immediately. 
Find My Family ASAP
Find My Friends is an iPhone app that is designed to let you know at a glance where your friends are.  But you can also use it to immediately locate your children, spouse and loved ones in an emergency. 
All your family has to do is allow you access on their phones, and if need be, you can immediately see where everyone is in real time, complete with map and directions.
Now that you know what to do, go download our free shortcut sheet, How To Make Your Family Findable, use it to update your phones, grab your flip flops and sunscreen and you’ll be on your way.   
Happy Spring!   #springbreak #familyvacation
Have Fun Getting Your Stuff Together! We’ll talk later…
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Introducing… Connected

Purchase Connected @ Amazon.com
More Amazing Things You Can Do In 5 Minutes Or Less
How To Download and Back Up Your Digital Photos
How To Fill Out Your Kid’s Emergency Contact Card

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Connected | The Book Inspired By The Blog.

Connected | Saving Lives & Connecting Families One Smartphone @ A Time. rnn10.wordpress.com

What if I told you, there was one thing that you own and probably have with you right now, that can give you the support, information & ability you need to keep everyone and everything you love safe and sound, PLUS the power to gather your family in seconds no matter where they are. What is it? It’s your smartphone! Introducing Connected, an easy to read, easy to use guide that gives you everything you need to turn your smartphone into your very own life preserver. Purchase Connected @ Amazon.com

How To Create A Get Back To Life Plan

How To Create A Get Back To Life Plan

How To Create A Get Back To Life Plan | You'll find this and other quick and easy life hacks and organization hacks at https://rnn10.wordpress.com

Courtesy of KRDO, Waldo Fire

Imagine that you and your family are sitting around the house one summer afternoon just enjoying each other’s company, when a wildfire suddenly breaks out just a few blocks from your home.    Depending on where you live, it could be a hurricane or a tornado, but let’s just call it a wildfire.  A firefighter knocks on the door and tells you that you have to evacuate.  Thankfully you know exactly what to do.  You print a copy of your Family Emergency Plan,  you all pile into the car with everything you need and drive directly to your evacuation location.  
Two days later — one of two things happen…
Scenario One 
Two days after the wildfire subsides, you and your family are in your evacuation location. The phone rings.  It’s a friend of yours calling to tell you that your home is badly damaged, and doubts that you will be able to live in it for at least two months if not longer. After you and your family get past the initial shock, you finally feel strong enough to open your Backup Plan Notebook.  There you find your Get Back To Life Plan and begin making calls to your insurance agent, your contractor and your boss. You call the local real estate agent in your evacuation city and ask her to begin looking for temporary housing, register your children in the local school and begin calling the contacts on your list that you’ve chosen to help you settle in.  
Getting settled is easier than you thought since you have copies of all of the vital documents you need, like your birth certificates and property deeds in a safe deposit box at the local branch of your bank. With a little hard work and a lot of courage, you and your family are back to living a normal life in a matter of weeks. 
Scenario Two   
Two days after the fire subsides, you and your family are staying in a relative’s spare room two counties over. The phone rings.  It’s that friend of yours calling to tell you that your home is badly damaged, and doubts that you will be able to live in it for at least two months if not longer. After you and your family get past the initial shock, you realize that you have no idea what you’re going to do.  
Same scenario, same challenges, one difference.  
One path comes with a plan for finding your way back.  
Facing a disaster – even a small one without giving yourself a plan to recover from it is like trying to build a house with no blueprint and no tools!  
It’s exactly what’s facing the survivors of the Nepal earthquake and what those who experienced the Fukushima & Haiti earthquakes, the Norman Oklahoma, Joplin and Tuscaloosa tornadoes and the Colorado wildfires are still dealing with.
How To Create A Get Back To Life Plan | You'll find this and other quick and easy life hacks and organization hacks at https://rnn10.wordpress.com

Click picture to download instructions

Let’s make sure Scenario Two doesn’t happen to you and your family.  In the last blog post, you created a plan to get you to your desired evacuation location.  But once you’re there, you’ll need to know what you’ll need and how things will function over the next three days, three weeks, or worst case scenario, three months.  Let’s see how prepared you would be to actually live in that location, until you can go back home.
Download a copy of our Get Back To Life Plan, or if you have our book The Backup Plan 3.0, you’ll find a copy in the back of the book.  Go over the questions below and once you’ve gotten a feel for the exercise, go ahead and complete the plan.
1.  Does the place we’re evacuating to have all the furniture and supplies we will need for up to one month?
2. What type of clothing would we need?
3. Can we store any basic supplies there before they’re needed, or do we need to purchase supplies when we arrive?
4. How will we handle our bank accounts, paying our monthly bills?  How much emergency cash do we need to have while traveling? What are our credit card limits and toll free numbers for emergency increases?
5. How will we work?  Will I be able to receive my paycheck in that location?  Will we work remotely or have to look for new positions?  What people or contacts can we call about temporary or permanent jobs?
6. How will we handle our medical, dental and prescription medicine needs while in the new location?  Can we get referrals to doctors and dentists that we can use, if need be, when we get there?
7. How long can we stay in our evacuation location?  If the evacuation lasts longer than we think, where will we go/stay?  Do we have real estate contacts if we need to find new permanent or temporary housing?
8. How will we secure the property or vehicles we have to leave behind?
9. How will we take care of our pets during the evacuation and until we find new permanent housing?
10. How will we handle our transportation needs?  What contacts will we need to purchase or lease vehicles?
11. How will we handle our daycare needs?  How will we handle getting our children into school if it becomes necessary?  What documents will we need to enroll them in a new school in a temporary or new location?
12.  How will we handle any special needs in our family?  How will we handle any potential problems we have identified?
Once you have you’ve answered the questions, complete your Get Back To Life Plan.   Once you’re finished, print, scan or make three copies of the Plan, and store it in at least three secure, damage-proof locations.   And while you’re at it, store a copy in your cell phone as well, in case an emergency occurs while you’re away from home.
Want to download these instructions for later?  Click Here to download the PDF version.

Have Fun Getting Your Stuff Together!    We’ll talk later…

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Buy Paperback Edition $24.99         Buy Downloadable Edition $8.00
More Amazing Things You Can Do In 5 Minutes Or Less
How To Set Up An ICE Contact On Your Smartphone
How To Create Your Family’s Evacuation Plan
How To Download and Back Up Your Digital Photos

Learn how to put an ICE Contact on every type of smartphone in just minutes with The ICE My Phone Kit! Paperback Edition $14.99   Buy now at Amazon.com  Downloadable PDF Edition $5.00 Buy Now  Read more about it
_________________________________________________

The Book Inspired By The Blog. The Backup Plan 3.0

The Backup Plan 3.0 | Filled with Quick and easy steps you can take right now, to keep everything that’s important to you, safe, sound and accessible. rnn10.wordpress.com

The Backup Plan 3.0, is filled with quick, easy, 5 minute steps you can take right now, to get everything that’s important to you organized, safe, sound and accessible.  Each section covers a different area, from backing up and fixing family photos, home movies and music, to vital documents, medical and financial information and even getting your digital life in order.  This special Bonus Edition includes 7 downloadable Bonus Books.  Paperback Edition $24.99   Buy now at Amazon.com  Downloadable PDF Edition $8.00  Buy Now       Read more about it

How To Back Up Your Photos, Videos and Music | Filled with Quick and easy steps you can take right now, to keep your photos, videos and music, safe, sound and accessible. www.getyourstufftogether.com

I don’t know about you, but the most important keepsakes in our house are our old family photos, followed closely by our home movies and music.  The problem is, grabbing piles of photo albums and all of the picture frames off the walls is hard to do if you have to get out of the house quickly. With How To Back Up Your Photos, Videos and Music, you’ll learn quick, easy steps to back up your print/digital photos, home movies, cassettes, vinyl albums and archive them in multiple, disaster proof locations.     $12.95   Buy now at Amazon.com    Read more about it

Raise Money & Save Lives!  Free Customized Editions of our books make a great fundraiser for your organization, companyor an extra stream of income for you.  

Your Business Continuity Plan May Be Missing Something…  Like your employees, for instance?  If your city is struck by a tornado, earthquake or other disaster, it isn’t just your company that will be affected – so will your employees.  That’s why you need to make sure they’re as prepared for an emergency as YOU are.  Don’t worry! We’ve got you covered.  Read More About It

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Living In A Cardboard House

Living In A Cardboard House | You'll find this and other quick and easy life hacks and organization hacks at https://rnn10.wordpress.com

A Family Trying to Get On With  Life, In A Temporary Cardboard Home In A Fukushima Evacuation Center
At 9.0 the Fukushima Japan Earthquake was one of the fiercest, most destructive quakes of modern times.   As time goes on, the images and feelings about the quake will fade, but only for those who didn’t experience it.  For the people of Japan the reality of that destruction, that DISRUPTION of their lives, is not only crystal clear, it’s ongoing as those families who were hardest hit by the quake, struggle to get back to their daily lives.
Thousands of families are taking refuge in evacuation centers like this one — cardboard walls now cordon off their private living space.  The question is, do the people who have now been in this center for a month, have any way of returning to their normal lives?
Although some cities were devastated beyond recognition in the original quake, or multiple aftershocks, most were not.   Which means that the families now living within the cardboard walls could probably have gotten out of the city they’re currently in, and on to a different location, within that month.  They could have gone to stay with friends or relatives in other cities, where they could have been reunited with the vital documents and information they needed, so they could begin to get in touch with insurance professionals or put the kids in a new temporary school.  They could have located their online stash of family photos and keepsakes to make their temporary home, or new life a little more comfortable and cozy.
They could have done all of that if they had only had one thing.  A Get Back To Life Plan.
The day we realized how important that little plan was, was a day that began like any other.
I was a stay at home mom, and had just finished a load of laundry, before getting ready to start dinner.  As I opened the cabinet to reach for a dish, the house shuttered.  It felt like something had hit the roof — hard.  A moment later there was an enormous roar, followed by a shock wave.  The kitchen chairs flew across the room and everything was cascading off the countertop .  I ran to the living room window and pulled back the curtains.  All I could see was orange – everything was orange.  I closed the curtains and opened them again thinking I had to be imagining this.  But I wasn’t. 
As I stared out the window I realized that the orange was actually a ball of fire surrounding what remained of a 737, lying broken, smoke billowing, just across the street and two houses away from where I stood.  The houses under the airplane were nothing more than rubble.  I immediately searched the distance for my daughter Laura’s school just two blocks away.  From what I could see beyond the smoke, it looked okay.  Adrenaline took over.  We’d need clothes – at least one night and one day’s worth for Laura, my husband and my mother who lived with us.  We’d need cash – whatever we had in the house, ID, pictures — at least a few, credit card…  By this time I was running from room to room dumping everything I needed on the couch.  There was a knock at the door.  “We’re evacuating the neighborhood”, said a fireman in full gear.  “Take everything you need for the next two or three days.”  
“You have ten minutes.”
If an airplane crash, Japan sized earthquake, terrorist attack or medical emergency struck right now, would you be ready?
Where is your spouse, your children, the other people you love?  What if they were injured?  Would a doctor know what to do to save their lives, with their specific healthcare needs in mind?  Would the hospital know to call you?
What about your vital documents?  Could you find your bank account number, your homeowner’s policy and your birth certificate, if you suddenly had five minutes to evacuate?
Most people can’t.  As human beings as much as we realize should be prepared, we’re just not hard-wired to be disaster-oriented.  If that’s all we thought about, we’d never make it through the day – at least not without living under the bed.   The good news is, being prepared doesn’t mean we have to be disaster- oriented.  Just the opposite!  It means that by taking an hour or two to prepare now, we can relax knowing that if a disaster or medical emergency ever strikes, we’ll:
Know what to do
Know what to take
Know where everything is
Know that we’ve done everything possible not just to survive, but to thrive
And isn’t that the point?  Having lived through a neighborhood plane crash, a tornado and a few medical emergencies, we can definitely tell you, that it is! The last few years, more than any other, our nation and our world have faced more than its share of natural and man-made disasters.  The only good thing about that is, we can use the lessons learned during Hurricane Katrina or floods, tornadoes, the Tsunami or even the London Bombings, to make sure our own families are prepared.
And make sure that if you ever have only five minutes, you can grab what you need and go.
Our family survived the plane crash that day.  Those across the street, did not.  We were and continue to be very blessed.  But those ten minutes to grab whatever I could, were some of the most stressful, most difficult I’ve ever experienced.
That’s why we made sure our newest book/program The Backup Plan 3.0 comes with a Get Back To Life Plan.  And if you don’t have the book yet, be sure to stop by the blog post we recently did on creating your own Get Back To Life Plan.
We’ve all seen images of Japan as her citizens struggle to get their lives back.   Let’s use those images to remind ourselves of one VERY important thing.  
People with a plan don’t usually have to live in a Cardboard House.
Have Fun Getting Your Stuff Together! We’ll talk later…
blogendsignature

 

Buy Paperback Edition $24.99         Buy Downloadable Edition $8.00
More Amazing Things You Can Do In 5 Minutes Or Less
How To Set Up An ICE Contact On Your Smartphone
How To Create Your Family’s Evacuation Plan
How To Earthquake Proof Your Bedroom

Learn how to put an ICE Contact on every type of smartphone in just minutes with The ICE My Phone Kit! Paperback Edition $14.99   Buy now at Amazon.com  Downloadable PDF Edition $5.00 Buy Now  Read more about it

_________________________________________________

The Book Inspired By The Blog. The Backup Plan 3.0

The Backup Plan 3.0 | Filled with Quick and easy steps you can take right now, to keep everything that’s important to you, safe, sound and accessible. rnn10.wordpress.com

The Backup Plan 3.0, is filled with quick, easy, 5 minute steps you can take right now, to get everything that’s important to you organized, safe, sound and accessible.  Each section covers a different area, from backing up and fixing family photos, home movies and music, to vital documents, medical and financial information and even getting your digital life in order.  This special Bonus Edition includes 7 downloadable Bonus Books.  Paperback Edition $24.99   Buy now at Amazon.com  Downloadable PDF Edition $8.00  Buy Now       Read more about it

How To Back Up Your Photos, Videos and Music | Filled with Quick and easy steps you can take right now, to keep your photos, videos and music, safe, sound and accessible. www.getyourstufftogether.com

I don’t know about you, but the most important keepsakes in our house are our old family photos, followed closely by our home movies and music.  The problem is, grabbing piles of photo albums and all of the picture frames off the walls is hard to do if you have to get out of the house quickly. With How To Back Up Your Photos, Videos and Music, you’ll learn quick, easy steps to back up your print/digital photos, home movies, cassettes, vinyl albums and archive them in multiple, disaster proof locations.     $12.95   Buy now at Amazon.com    Read more about it

Raise Money & Save Lives!  Free Customized Editions of our books make a great fundraiser for your organization, companyor an extra stream of income for you.  

Your Business Continuity Plan May Be Missing Something…  Like your employees, for instance?  If your city is struck by a tornado, earthquake or other disaster, it isn’t just your company that will be affected – so will your employees.  That’s why you need to make sure they’re as prepared for an emergency as YOU are.  Don’t worry! We’ve got you covered.  Read More About It

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Follow Us On Twitter

Watch Our How-To Videos On YouTube

Join Us On Pinterest

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