During emergencies, people worry. A lot of them will want to know if you’re safe. Their concerns are valid, but you cannot text or call everyone to share that you’re safe.
There are two quick ways you can let everyone know at once:
1. Send a broadcast message
It’s a group text! It’s gauche to send a group text that includes a bunch of people who don’t know each other, but you’re invited to send one if it’s an actual emergency.
You may want to send one group text that includes just members of your household so you can continue communicating there if the network allows, and a second group text that includes people you know worry about you, but won’t be part of your disaster recovery.
If you send a large group text, consider including something like, “This is a large group text. Please be courteous and do not respond in this thread. If you need to respond, please message me directly.” Clear instructions like these can help people who are new to text messaging or less tech savvy. We thank you for this kindness that will save us from twelve emoji paragraphs from your Aunt Judy.
2. Mark yourself safe
Even as Facebook descends into a pit of corruption and unchecked societal influence, we do still appreciate its “Marked Safe” feature. During widespread disasters like tsunamis, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, or even wars, some social media platforms give you the option to mark yourself safe. When you do that, all your friends/connections on the platform get a notification.
Here’s the step-by-step guide to marking yourself safe on Facebook. If you’re in the area of a disaster, you may be given the option to mark yourself safe before you’re even aware the disaster has occurred. You’ll be able to access a feed where people can post directly to request or offer assistance, ask about missing loved ones, and give hyperlocal updates.
Some local community websites also let you mark yourself and your area safe/unsafe and solicit help or let rescuers know where to go. Search for your local message board online and join in!
Most local governments also have a communication team that will send out alerts and updates during a disaster. Find yours and sign up for alerts on the platform where they provide them. They may have a text-based alert system, which is ideal for quick notifications.
To recap our ways to let everyone know you’re safe: send out a mass text instead of calling, mark yourself safe on social media, and check the Red Cross registry to confirm that you’re safe and well. Don’t forget to put an extra charger in your Go Bag, so your phone will still have enough juice to help you reach out when the dust has settled.