If you knew that spending 15 minutes right now could save the people you love in the event of an emergency, would you do it? Of course you would!
During recent disasters like hurricanes, fires and tornadoes, one need has come to the forefront more than any other — the need to get a victim’s identification, medical history and emergency contact information as quickly as possible.
You spend all your time taking care of others, but what about you? If someone had to locate your contacts in a medical emergency, could they do it? Grab your address books (we know you have more than one!), your cell phone, tablet, and anything else you usually carry with you and let’s get organized.
First, let’s create a list of emergency information for each member of the family including:
Their name, age, address, phone number
The name of their primary physician
Allergies and any prescription drugs the person is taking
Chronic medical conditions and, anything else you would want an emergency physician to know.
At least three emergency contacts for each person:
1. For yourself, list your spouse’s home, cell and work numbers, for your spouse, list your numbers. For your children, both you and your spouse’s numbers.
2. Next for each person, the name and contact numbers of a nearby relative or good friend;
3. Then on each list, include the name and numbers of an out of state relative or friend. In case of regional emergency, you can often call long distance, even though you can’t call locally. A distant friend can be a touch point for the entire family until communication is restored.
Make several copies of each list and place them:
- in an easy to find place near your main home phone
- place each child’s list in his permanent school record, in addition to his regular emergency card.
- place your and your spouse’s list in your personnel files at work with your other emergency information.
If you don’t feel comfortable having it in your file, consider placing it in a sealed envelope to be opened only in an emergency, or put the information on a password protected CD.
You can also put this list in your computer, or Tablet so you have it with you in an emergency.
Don’t forget to ask the people you want to use as contacts, for their permission to use them. Some people might not feel comfortable having to be relied upon in an emergency and it’s better to know that now!
Every six months put a reminder in your calendar to review and update all of your emergency plans.
Once you get your own contacts in order, book some time with your parents, kids and the other people that you love, to make sure, in case of a medical emergency involving them, that a hospital knows how to contact you.
Clearly indicate your emergency contacts on your main telephone speed dial. Don’t use the person’s name, use their relationship to you, for example “parents”, “sister”, “husband”, “work”. Then do the same thing on your cell phone. After the 9/11 disaster a paramedic came up with the idea of putting “ICE” (in case of emergency) on your cell phone, with the number of your emergency contact. You can do that on your cell or simply put in “husband” or “home” like you did above. Make sure you do the same thing on your tablet, laptop or anything else you usually carry.
In the days after 9/11, 2,100 children were left in daycare because their parents had never indicated on their daycare emergency cards, who should be called, if the parents were unable to get to them to pick them up.
Choose someone you would want them to be with, until you can get to them and make sure that information is on the child’s emergency list and on his school’s emergency contact card.
Since children don’t carry wallets or drivers licenses, make sure that your children have emergency information in their backpack, on their cell phone or anything else they carry with them.
Make sure each member of the family knows what to do in an emergency, especially if you can’t get back home, or if your home is uninhabitable.
Appoint a special place for everyone to meet away from home, and make sure everyone knows who your out of state point of contact is, in case you need to relay messages to each other. Keep that plan with the emergency lists, in an easy-to-find place. Some families have even put their emergency plans on wallet-sized cards, one for each member of the family.
Safeguarding Copies of Vital Information
As victims of Hurricane Katrina found, when you have to function after a major disaster, being without your driver’s license, birth certificate, social security card or bank account numbers can be a huge problem.
Make a copy of all of your and your children’s vital records and put them in bank safe deposit box or other secure place, preferably in two different locations. One of them should be in another city or state if possible.
If you’re concerned about the security of hard copy documents, scan them onto a password protected CD, and store those instead of the hard copies.
These are simple steps to prevent yourself an the loved ones, in the event of a disaster of any kind. If you want more information, you can check this: Survive any Crisis
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