Quick Emergency Prep Project: Build a Texting Tree

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This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

A few weeks ago, we posted a guest post on having a meeting place in times of emergency, which covered having multiple backup plans in place where your family can congregate.  At the same time, when a disaster occurs, we would also want to reach out to loved ones to communicate our situation or inform them of our next move.  In recent emergencies, it was widely observed that while land lines did not work, many people were able to use their cell phones to send text messages.   For this reason it would be a good idea to organize your own texting tree.  Much like the phone trees used by kids’ schools to keep parents informed, the texting tree would be used in times of emergency to keep family and friends informed.

This project is simple:  all you need is your cell phone, contact list and a sheet of paper.  You can either draw it out manually or build the tree using Word or Excel, in the same manner you would create an organization chart. It should only take about an hour at the most, except for the part about explaining how it works to your contacts.

Some key ideas:

  • You would be on top of the texting tree since you are the organizer.
  • You text a maximum of three people, and they have three people to send their text and so on.  When a disaster occurs you may only have a limited time or means to send a text, so keeping your contacts at a minimum makes it easier.
  • Choose your contacts carefully, you want to make sure they are people you can count on to get the word out.
  • Have a conversation with your contacts ahead of time to explain what you’re trying to do so they know what to do when the time comes.

You can use the texting tree to keep everyone informed in the event of a regional disaster, such as an earthquake or hurricane. Even non preppers in your circle of friends and family would see the need to be able to communicate in the event of an emergency, so getting them involved should be easy enough.

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  1. That is a really great idea, I know personally living in Minnesota when the I-35 bridge collapsed, it was impossible to make phone calls in the area where the bridge collapsed because all circuits were busy, but text messages were able to go through from people that were in that area. Having key contacts discernment information seems like a really logical idea.

    Another idea to investigate would be to have some sort of a distribution list setup, so you can send a text message to some email address… and that email address then forwards the text message onto all the members of that distribution list.

  2. One thing that you might want to do is create a “group” in your phone contact list. I can write one text message and send it out to many people by sending it to my group.

    You can find tutorials and Youtube videos on how to do this online.


  3. i live in rural ireland where there is no mobile net available, so i bought a landline phone with text capabilitys. works like a treat. even during power outings it can be used as the phonelines are powered separeted from the powergrid. no need for a charged phone either, which is always a problem after a multiple day poweroutage.

    1. Hi richart, That’s great you have a landline that has text capabilities and its reliable. Don’t see to many of those around here. Thanks for the comment.

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