To the third half of the post about communications
As I have said in the past, I read "Surviving In Argentina" by FerFAL, at least weekly. FerFAL has a certain perspective about living through an economic collapse. Also weekly, I read a blog called "Global Guerrillas" by John Robb. Mr. Robb writes about "... systems disruption, and the emerging bazaar of violence. Resilient Communities, ..." Both blogs are very informative.
Now, both of these blogs warn about the possibility of increased violence as the United States of America and other national governments have difficulty managing the various crises facing their citizens. This violence includes home invasions, kidnappings, and terrorism.
Now, what does this have to do with communications?
Before I explain, let me ask you a couple of questions.
If your wife screams, how do you know to bring a gun or a medical kit?
If your children call, how do you know to come pick them up without them embarrassing themselves?
If a criminal came into your home, and you were going to shoot, how does your husband and family know to "go low" to avoid getting shot as the bullets penetrate the bedroom walls?
I would like to suggest that your family develop a set, a very short list, of innocent words that let other family members respond to emergency situations.
An example might be "Barney" shouted by everyone in the house to let everyone know to get to the safe room because of a home invasion. Another might be "Zombie" to designate an active shooter situation in the mall, as you and your family shop. Lastly, "How is Grandma?" might mean "I'm O.K." in a hostage situation.
Now, remember your panic words cover the threats you are preparing for and are unique to your family. Additionally, remember OPSEC, so remind the kids not to tell anyone their panic words.
Surviving In Argentina
Wikipedia - Crisis
PBS Kids: Barney
Indiana University Police Department - What To Expect: Active Shooter Situation
(I don't agree with everything in this article, but it is a plan)
Of Arms and The Law - Thoughts on "Active Shooters"
Center for Personal Protection and Safety - Guidance for Surviving an Active Shooter Situation