Who You Gonna Call ?

telephone and list imageFire Drill post it note

The best time to prepare for an emergency is before it happens. One way to be ready is to have a list of emergency phone numbers where it can be easily retrieved in an emergency.

At work, this means you should make a list of emergency numbers and keep it near your phone. Programming your phone with emergency numbers is good but keep in mind that not everyone who comes to your aid will know how to use your phone so an easy to read printed list can be very helpful.

At home, you should make sure your whole family knows where to find the emergency phone numbers and that your children know how to place a call for emergency help. Again, pre programmed numbers can be helpful but should not take the place of a clear easy to read list.

Need-to-Know Numbers

During an emergency, it's easy to become disoriented or upset, so you should have all important phone numbers readily available ahead of time. Write each phone number in clear, large letters on plain white paper so that it will be easy for anyone to read even in low light or when disoriented.

It is recommended your list includes the following 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 state.
  • Hospital emergency room
  • Fire department
  • Police department
  • Other emergency hotline numbers from your local phone book that you determine may be appropriate
  • Spouse's or significant other's work, cell phone and pager
  • If you have children, your child's doctor
  • And you can probably think of other important numbers to list once you get started

Everyone including very young children should know how or be taught how to place an emergency call to 911 for help. The following is a suggestion on teaching your child how to place a call to 911 and talk to the operator or dispatcher. Go over and practice these steps with your children. (make sure the telephone is unplugged, remember this is just practice) It is recommened you review these items:

  • How to dial 911 (or the emergency number in your community)
  • How to give his or her full name and age
  • How to give his or her full address
  • How to give a short description of the emergency
  • Not to hang up until the operator says it is okay

Have your child practice by speaking into a real telephone. Suggest a situation, such as "Mommy's fallen down the stairs and can't get up. Now what do you do?" After your child enters the number, prompt him or her with questions that an emergency operator would usually ask, such as "What is your name?," "Where are you calling from?," and "What is the emergency?" Stress that the description should be short ("Mommy fell down the stairs") and that he or she should try to stay calm. Practice until your child feels comfortable doing this.

No one wants to think about an emergency happening at work or at home, but it's better to face that possibility than to be caught unprepared. So keep emergency numbers close by it's a small step that could have big consequences.