Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Emergency Preparedness

If the events of the last few days have taught me anything it's that we are not at all prepared for an emergency.  On Saturday my mother suffered an event (you can read more about it here) that created quite a panic among the family.  As we've been dealing with the aftermath I've reflected on what could have been done better and made some of my phone calls a little easier.  Here is the list I've come up with, if you have anything to add please let me know.  I'm starting to create an emergency kit for us and it would help if I've forgotten something.

Know your family's phone numbers:  Seems like a no-brainer but my sister needed to call my aunt 500 miles away to notify me that my mom had a heart attack.  She didn't have my phone number since most of our communication is either over e-mail, through my mom or in person.  Neither one of us had the other's phone number and I'm not in the book.  I also took the opportunity to add extended family members and my parents friends into my cell phone book so that I'm prepared for the future.

Know the emergency numbers at work:  We had trouble reaching my dad because it was after hours.  It took the police a while to find a way to reach him.  I've realized that my own children wouldn't know how to get a hold of their father if something happened to me.  They probably wouldn't think to look on the top of the fridge (where I keep the emergency number) if I was unable to communicate.  We've all added alternative phone numbers into our cell phones.

Finances:  My mother takes care of the finances, my dad doesn't know the passwords to any of the accounts or what bill is due when.  Honestly, neither does my husband or the spouses of a number of people at work.  Having a list of all your bills, log on names & passwords, bank accounts, etc is critical.  Luckily my mother is able to communicate, this evening was spent with her telling me what I needed to know to take care of their finances while she's in the hospital.

Personal Data:  In dealing with the medical insurance, disability insurance, etc I needed social security information, DOB information, etc.  Since I do their taxes I was able to look up the social security information fairly easily and I knew what her date of birth was, but someone else wouldn't have been able to access so quickly (at least without bothering my dad)

Medical Information:  Knowing who your doctor is, medical procedures you had (i.e. you have a metal clip in your brain and can't have a MRI), medicines you are on, etc are important pieces of information for emergency personal to have.  Physician information is also required when filing disability insurance claims.

Who needs to be notified:  If something happens, who do you want called?  Who is your supervisor at work, who is your insurance agent, etc.  I made as many calls to people that I knew but I did end up missing one of my mom's good friends.  Yes, she was a little insulted and upset with me.  What can you do?  Having a list of people to contact would have made the job a little easier for me.  The way things spread on Facebook these things need to be done fairly quickly to avoid the 'grapevine' effect.

I'm in the process of putting together my list of the above.  I will make sure that my husband, the kids and my parents know where I have put it so that if there is ever a problem they will be able to access our information.  Keeping it updated is important also, I figured that since we're getting close to daylight savings I might put this on the same 'review' timeframe as the changing of the fire alarm batteries.

Do you have an emergency kit?  I'd love to hear what else you put in it.


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  2. I wish your mom a full recovery and so sorry to hear you all had that scare.

    For passwords for financial accounts etc 1Password is amazing. Even though I do most of the balancing etc my husband could access all our accounts without me because he knows the one password that gives you access to all the other passwords.

  3. I wish you Mom a full recovery! And thank-you for the good ideas.

  4. Sarah - I'll have to try that 1Password. I certainly don't want anyone else to have the trouble I've been having. I'm getting everything done, it's just taking me some time. Thanks for the well wishes, my mom is doing very well.

  5. Linda - thanks for your well wishes, my mom is doing so much better!