In Case of Emergency
The best time to prepare for an emergency is before one happens. Make sure your family knows emergency phone numbers and your kids know how to place a call for help.
During an emergency, it's easy to become disoriented and upset, so you need to have all important phone numbers readily available ahead of time.
Write each phone number clearly so that it will be easy for kids to read. Use a pen with dark-colored ink or type it on the computer because pencil or light-colored ink can be harder to read when you're in a hurry or if lights are dim.
Because accidents can happen in any part of the home, make copies of the completed list and post one near every telephone in the house and on the refrigerator. Be sure to carry one with you when you are out of the house, and keep one in the car as well.
Also, consider programming some of the emergency numbers in your cell phone. In addition, make sure that people who come to the house to watch your kids (babysitters or relatives, for example) familiarize themselves with the list. If a babysitter is taking the kids out, make sure he or she also carries the list of numbers.
If you choose to create your own phone list, make sure it includes these numbers:
- emergency medical services: In most places this is 911, but your community may have its own number — check your telephone book if you're unsure.
- poison control center: 1-800-222-1222. This toll-free number will put you in touch with the poison control center in your area.
- hospital emergency room
- fire department
- police department
- your child's doctor
- parents' work
- parents' cell phone and/or pager
- neighbors and/or relatives
If you are calling 911 from your cell phone, the dispatcher may not have precise enough information to pinpoint your location so be prepared to give detailed information about where you are (for example, address, city, cross streets, major highway, and nearest exits).
If you have a home alarm, make sure you and others in the home know how to use it to activate local emergency services (ambulance, police, fire station).
If you're planning a trip to another country, make sure you know how to get help if the need arises. It's better to be prepared and keep a list of international numbers. Lists of international emergency numbers are available online and from embassies of each country.