As I hear and read about all the tragic and heart-wrenching events that have taken place over the years, I start to wonder what my family and I would do in an emergency situation. We are told that we should have this and that, in case something happens, but I have never met anyone who is actually prepared for an emergency. As a husband and father of two small children, a 4 and 1-year-old, it terrifies me to think of an emergency situation happening to my family, especially if I am not there. Unfortunately, it usually takes a serious event to get people to think about these things and prepare for what they would do. After the forest fires in Fort McMurray, my wife and I decided that we should have plans for different disasters and emergencies.
We started with teaching my son about fire safety and created a plan of what to do if a fire occurs in our house. The plan included different ways to get out of the house, places he can go, and who he can call when he is safe. The most difficult thing to talk about was getting his sister out and not worrying about his parents. This was a quick discussion as he is only 4 years old, but it is important to talk to your family about these types of situations, no matter how horrible they may be because everyone needs to know what they should do in these events. After creating our fire plan, we went to the grocery store and bought a bunch of nonperishable foods and some emergency supplies so we could be prepared for other emergencies.
After this, I thought my family and I would be ready for any situation that might occur until I was at home with my two children while my wife was at work. I was walking down the stairs carrying my daughter when I caught my foot on one of the steps and almost lost my balance. Luckily I did not fall, but it made me think about what would happen if I did hurt myself badly? Would my son know what to do? I travel for work and started to think about when he’s alone with his mother. He has learned her cell phone number (not mine yet) but like most people, cell phones are password protected, and we do not have a home phone. How would he call for help? At this point, I remembered about a function that most iPhone’s have for emergencies. On the bottom left-hand corner, there is an emergency button that appears, and you can call 911. Also, there is a button labeled medical ID. If you touch this button, it will list emergency contacts (with a link to call them) as well as some medical information about yourself, such as blood type and if you are an organ donor. This feature is very useful, not only for emergencies at home but also if you get into an accident anywhere. Paramedics can access this information along with your appointed emergency contact. This data needs to be filled out through the health app on your phone.
I know we cannot have a plan for everything, nor can we be fully prepared for an emergency or disaster but I feel more comfortable knowing that my family has discussed what could happen and what they should do. The most important part of any plan is to educate.
For more information on emergency planning with your family visit: http://www.getprepared.gc.ca/cnt/rsrcs/pblctns/yprprdnssgd/index-en.aspx