As we continue to try to come to terms with the bombings in Boston and the other suggestions of ongoing terrorism, there are practical things that you can do right now to empower yourself and your loved ones.
I invite you to add your own suggestions to this list, as it’s not intended to be comprehensive, just a starting point for discussion.
1. Ensure that everyone in your household is carrying current identification and emergency contact information. While you might have a driver’s license, college ID, or other form of identification, it’s of little use in an emergency in terms of reaching your loved ones. I’ve created my own emergency cards as a Word document that I print and “laminate” using clear tape. They contain my name, two points of contact (each with telephone and e-mail) and a request that they be contacted in case of emergency. If you don’t want to divulge home addresses, that’s fine. Keep these emergency cards current! If your contact has new phone or e-mail due to a job change, unemployment, or move, make yourself and your family new cards with the new information. Make sure that you and your loved ones carry these ID cards on their person!
2. Sign up for a First Aid and/or CPR class. While it’s great to be surrounded by capable first responders, there may come a time when you could make the difference between life and death for someone in an emergency, or even in the course of daily life. Even in non-terror-related circumstances (someone choking at a barbeque, bee stings, summertime swimming pool mishaps, etc.), your ability to respond calmly (even just to know to call 911) can be vitally important. If you’ve had these classes before, it might be wise to take a refresher, as methodologies for CPR have changed over time, and everyone can benefit from reminders on first aid techniques.
3. Avail yourself of useful apps to stay connected with loved ones. When cell phone lines are down or clogged with traffic, you’ll want other means of staying in touch. Apps like Life360 can show you where your loved one (or at least their phone) is located at any given moment. Social media sites allow you to post updates that will keep your contacts apprised of your status during an emergency. Text messages can often get through when phone calls cannot, and they provide a record of time of contact. Do not, do not, repeat: do NOT text and drive! We have enough carnage without you getting into an accident.
4. Develop and rehearse a family, household, or business plan for emergency situations. Discuss ideas with the people you need to contact, and suggest ways to contact each other and – if necessary – meet at a designated location. The plans can provide for various situations: severe weather, terrorism, natural disasters, medical emergencies. Rehearse the plan with occasional drills. Kids can be a great help in designing these plans, and it’s empowering for them to take on a proactive role. They’re also more likely to embrace a plan that they helped to create.
5. Program important phone numbers into your mobile phone. Numbers for your local police, fire, poison control, doctor’s office, and all your key contacts. You can also designate a contact as “ICE” (In Case of Emergency” that someone can dial if you’re unable to use your phone. Make sure that your kids, family members, friends, and co-workers have YOUR current phone number programmed into their phones.
6. Talk with your family, friends, and business associates. Chances are, they’re worried, but they’re also resourceful people who can contribute good ideas. Share your own ideas in the comments below, and see how others are preparing themselves whatever lies ahead. We’re all in this together!
[cross-posted from Teh Orange]