Developing a Communications Plan


Just as important as having an evacuation plan in place in advance of an emergency is pre-arranging a two-way communication system — one that includes contingency measures!

Two common problems to consider:

1. Basic service may be temporarily or totally disrupted, so don’t rely exclusively on speed dialing or cell service.(Text messaging is sometimes available before full voice service is restored.)

2. You may be away from your studio when disaster strikes — and your co-workers or employees may (or may not) be on the scene.

Make a Plan A and a Plan B for staying in touch.

First, put in place procedures (and fallbacks) for two-way communication before, during, and after a disaster with:

  • your family

  • your co-workers and employees, and their families

  • your co-tenants or neighbors

  • local responders.

Make sure all those working in your studio are familiar with the emergency communication system.

In your studio, post a list of emergency contacts in a visible place. If you have a Studio Protector wall guide, fill out the “Getting Help” booklet and let everyone know its location. A pdf version of the booklet is available below. Update your lists at least once a year.

When you’re away from the studio, carry a duplicate copy of the Studio Protector ”Getting Help” booklet, or:

Produce wallet-sized emergency contact cards for you and your co-workers or employees. Include the phone numbers and email addresses of your Disaster Buddy, and the password for the protected page on your website (see the sidebar).

Second, create a post-disaster plan for keeping in touch with:

  • your suppliers

  • your customers

  • other business contacts

  • other artists, colleagues, and friends.

In the immediate aftermath of an emergency, having your Disaster Buddy be a conduit for posting bulletins can be an effective way to let people know of your needs for assistance and/or the status of your operation.


 ARTIST TIP: If you have time before you evacuate, forward business calls to your cell phone. 


How a “Disaster Buddy” Can Be a Lifeline

Make a mutual-assistance pact with a fellow artist or friend living in another region(this is key). You and your Disaster Buddy each commit to serving the other as a “central dispatch,” to receive and send out information before, during and after a disaster if one should strike.

With your Disaster Buddy, exchange lists of contacts and people to notify in case of an emergency.

Provide those closest to you with your Disaster Buddy’s phone and email contact information, so everyone can leave an “I’m okay” message, and/or updated contact info.

Other options for alerting and staying in touch with your closest circle of contacts:

  • A telephone calling tree (with assignments in advance).

  • A password-protected page on your website to check in.

The Getting Help booklet from the Studio Protector® Wall Guide has a section for emergency contacts. Fill in the copy from your wall guide or fill in and print the pages in the version below:

We have made the contents of the Getting Help: Emergency Contacts Pocket ProtectorTM booklet from the Studio Protector® wall guide available as a pdf for you to use, print, and post in the studio. The booklet contains lists of first responders, arts responders, and places to fill in your own emergency numbers, plan for evacuation, and and work through special needs. The fillable pdf file can be filled in, saved and printed for easy reference.

FEMA has created a Family Emergency Plan that may be useful in developing a communications plan for your home and business.  It can be downloaded here to print out and fill in: