In some professions, communication is important. In the military and public services, for example, they use what’s called a PACE plan to make sure they always have a way to send a critical message when time’s a factor. And you can, too.
PACE stands for Primary, Alternate, Contingency, and Emergency. In other words, it’s a way to make sure there’s multiple ways to reach someone or communicate even if something goes wrong and the primary method isn’t an option. Broken down, it looks kind of like this:
Primary is the way you routinely talk to someone. It’s the one that makes the most sense to use and is often the most convenient. For example, many of us will be using our phone to call, text, or DM someone we want to talk to. If it’s what you normally use to talk, that’s probably going to be your primary method.
Alternate is what you use if the primary method isn’t available. If you drop your phone in the bathtub and have to wait for the bag or rice to work it’s magic, what would you to do reach out to someone you want to talk to? Maybe then you’d use your computer or a tablet- that’s your alternate method.
Contingency is what you use if neither the primary or alternate method is an option. This is often something that’s a bit less convenient, but will still do the trick. This could be a neighbor’s phone, sending someone with a message, or another way to get information across.
Emergency is when you or someone else needs help right now, and there might not even be time to send a message privately or securely. Consider how the military communicates- in most cases, they’re using encrypted radios or some other way that hides what they’re saying. But if there’s an emergency, sending out a message “in the clear” can make sure everyone gets it and can respond quickly. You hope to never need to use an emergency method of contact, but deciding what it might be ahead of time is important.
Another benefit of setting up your PACE plan now is that you have time to think about safety and security for the methods you choose. If your phone is your primary method of communicating with your support system, of course you want to make sure your phone is protected and private. But if your computer is your alternate communication method, you should probably make sure it is too- just in case you need to use it.
So set your own PACE, what that means is up to you.