Missing Persons - When Redcross isn't enough

The Red Cross does everything in its power to locate missing persons but they can only do so much with their resources. Thus additional steps to locating someoneafter a disaster can help. These suggestions represent what I would do in a disaster based on personal experience and is no substitute for professional assistance. Every situation is different but I hope these ideas may be of help so here it goes:

For as little as $9.95 (assuming the internet is working) I use BeenVerifed which you can google that can locate the whereabouts of a person. This is after trying to track them with Prey, a laptop tracking tool (click here to download if needed) or Locate My Friends app unless of course they gave you the password to text WHERE'S MY DROID and type in their phone number. If small tracking devices are affordable, each family member should definately have one!

Lets say the internet is down but phone lines work. Contact as many people that you know who may have seen your missing friend or family member. Call surrounding shelters. Since my experience is they do not release information of names, simply ask the shelter manager to give a message to your loved one and ask them to call you back when they can. If you are an immediate family member you can contact local hospitals and see if they have been admitted.

When the above methods don't yield results, then continue by contacting church members or social groups that you and they belong to and do alot of calling and see if they saw them. Also very helpful: putting up posters in a general area as permitted near a temporary shelter after the disaster can help as that may be seen on the news. Smartphones that have buddy systems on them are very useful but when the towers are overwhelmed or in repair, it helps to try to (hard as it is) stay calm and focused and think about where they said they were headed, any thoughts that flash in your mind, write them down immediately! (I was in shock after Loma Prieta that hit the California bay area in October 17th, 1989 and my mind couldn't focus often having memory lapses from the trauma.) Most important, you MUST TAKE care of yourself so you can be focused and well enough to track down and find out where he or she may be.

Google and find internet where available and use social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Google Circles to see if anyone in your circle has found or has seen your loved one. I know there are some who do not like to use these but it is good to have an account because in this case it can be extremely helpful. Check from time to time as the internet in your area may be overwhelmed and messages may not get recieved or updated as quick as one would hope.

When you have exhausted these methods then you may have to turn to a professional investigator and see what they can find out. It helps to have check out customer comments on such sites as YELP or equivalent to see who is a good, but try to avoid someone in the immediate area as they are most likely overwhelmed depending on the level of disaster. Finding one outside of the affected area but close enough to be of help can make all the difference. Ironically, I found an unusally inexpensive but VERY smart investigator well outside my area and would have cost me more money to get someone closer to home than this person. He is Matthew A. Loos, Private Investigator* in Salem Oregon (* Oregon Assocation of Private Investigators needs to update his contact info) {click here for Facebook link} and was able to find information I needed right away and his rates were incredibly low. I asked him how he could afford to do that and he believes in the philosphy that being affordable to the greater public is of greater benefit to all. I wish I could go into more detail of how he helped me but cannot out of respect of privacy, nonetheless he was of tremendous help!

If you have any additional ideas that can be posted on this site, please feel free to contact me and type just the word "Idea" in the subject line so I can find your email in the numerous group that I recieve. I am one person spending years on this so it may take a bit but will do what I can by the grace of God.