Family Emergency Plan: Back to School Edition
Accidents and emergencies never call ahead to warn you. For families with children in school, emergencies can be particularly stressful because you may not be with them when an emergency happens. That is why it is important to have a family emergency plan in place so everyone knows what to do, who to call and where to go in case of an emergency.
The good news is that schools already have emergency plans in place to protect their students. Fire safety and tornado drills are practiced in schools. Also teachers and administrators have “lockdown” plans in case of a danger, such as an armed criminal, near the school.
There are a few things you can do to teach your children about safety and to make sure the entire family is prepared for emergencies.
- Talk With Your Children. Be sure your children feel safe and comfortable with your family plan. Talk with them about what are the most likely scenarios they would encounter, such as a car accident or severe weather.
- Prepare Lines of Communication. During an emergency it can be challenging to get in touch with your family, and not knowing if your child is safe can make a few minutes seem like an eternity. To keep lines of communication open, be sure your child's school has your up-to-date contact information. If your child has a cell phone, talk with them about when it is appropriate to call or text during an emergency and who to contact.
- Enter Your ICE Contacts In Your Phone. Every member of the family with a cell phone should have at least two “In Case of Emergency” (ICE) contacts listed in their phones. Medical personnel who respond to an accident will often search a victims phone for an emergency contact and will search for a listing marked ICE. To designate a contact as an ICE contact simply put ICE in front of their name and include their relationship to you. For example, the responding EMTs will see the following entry in your child's phone: “ICE - Tina, Mother.” Have more than one ICE contact in your phone in case one ICE contact was also involved in the accident or cannot be reached.
Emergency situations cannot be avoided, but you can make sure every member of your family is educated on what to do in dangerous situations. Now that children are back in school or away at college, be sure you have an updated Family Emergency Plan for each child.
Just remember, a little planning now can save a lot of stress later.