Some events in life are going to change the fabric of what it means to be part of your family. These are called family emergencies and can be as mundane as hospital visits or as dire as a death in the family. Family emergencies are one of the most dreaded events in the course of a lifetime. They often involve injury or sickness and could have consequences that will last a lifetime.
Preparing for a family emergency can entail many aspects of survival and planning. Depending on the crisis, the task could be tiny or immense, but most importantly could happen at any time. Some steps to take in a family emergency are:
- What are your needs?
- Make it official
Planning for a family emergency can be one of the most stressful situations in which some people are ever placed. While there is most certainly danger involved, being prepared will take away a good part of that stress. Continue reading to find the elements you need to make a successful emergency plan for your family.
Knowing what to do in a crisis can make you ignore the pain and suffering while working towards a resolution for the problem. Having a purpose in an emergency can provide needed clarity and mean the difference between life and death.
Once you have a plan in place, it should be displayed for all the family to see. Use a site that everyone goes, like the kitchen, and make the plan evident to all. The steps to creating a family emergency plan are:
What can go wrong? That is the first question you should ask yourself when starting to prepare a plan. The answer should always be whatever can go wrong, will go wrong. Build your strategy off of family medical history.
If there are any significant illnesses or disabilities, you should have the medicine or equipment ready at all times. What kind of emergencies can happen in your area? Weather-related issues can spring up in any environment at a moment’s notice. Do you live near a military base? Nuclear power plant? Every situation should be taken into consideration.
What Are Your Needs
This was touched on in brainstorming, but must be carried out to produce a rigid set of equipment. It is hard to plan for an emergency when you don’t know what that could be. That is understandable and is a significant reason that most people do not make an emergency family plan.
This plan will give your family directions on how to react to whatever situation may arise. The type of emergency will depend on several factors. The best thing to do in this stage is to make a list. Things to include on your list are:
- Ages of family members
- Spoken languages
- Locations of interest
Like going on vacation, you are making a plan that requires more thought. Whatever the situation may happen to be, you should have the information and materials that you need after going through this stage in creation.
Make it Official
The best thing to do with your plan is to make it official by writing it down and making the family sign it. This may sound like a crazy formality, but this is very important and should be taken that way in every step of the process. Making a contract with your family will ensure that they all understand that they must put aside their routine in an emergency to help support the family.
This part should be a practical exercise that tests the limits of your plans. If you have several different scenarios, a fire drill is a perfect example; you should make sure that everyone knows their job and what they need to be doing.
You should practice so much that it becomes second nature. In a crisis, your mind will want to run or take cover. You must make the practice routine such a groove in your mind that you do it on instinct. Lives could be at stake, and standing around never solved anything.
Practicing all the plans you have could turn into a time-consuming ordeal. Take time to practice more prolonged situations on separate days. Once everyone has their jobs memorized, you can move on to the next exercise.
An emergency can happen at any time in any place and involves a level of danger. When a family emergency strikes, you should have a plan to keep the family running until things return to normal. The most common types of family emergencies are:
- Car accident
- Hospital stay
Surviving a collision with injuries is very common, and that means you might be an uninjured rider having to handle the fallout of a deadly situation, or the injured person depending on someone else. Since there are so many vehicles on the road, being prepared for a car accident is a good bet. The steps to take after a traffic collision are:
- Check the passengers
- Unload from auto (if applicable)
- Call the authorities
- Help traffic
- Assist as needed
Check the Passengers
Once the cars have both come to a complete stop, you should check on the other passengers to see if they need assistance. It would be best if you didn’t move anyone who says they can’t feel sections of their lower body.
Displaced vertebrae in the spine can be painful and could cause paralysis if moved the wrong way. Keep the neck and hips stable as possible if you have to remove someone from a burning vehicle.
Unload From the Vehicle (If Possible)
One of the by-products of a high-speed crash is going to be twisted metal. Often after a wreck, you can’t open some of the doors or the trunk. This is to be expected. If someone is trapped in the vehicle, you must keep them calm until someone comes to remove them. Panic at a car accident will be running rampant.
Having a plan of action will remove some of this panic and give you a sense of purpose. That sense of purpose can create enough will to make it through any job that you might have to complete.
Call the Authorities
One of the first things that you should do after the passengers are accounted for is to find a way to call for help. This could mean removing yourself from the automobile and searching for a cell phone, or a trek to the nearest house to call the ambulance.
If you are unable to move from the wreckage, you should try and blow the horn or use the flasher to alert nearby motorists. Creating a racket always leads to someone coming to check out what the situation is. If you are persistent enough, you should be able to call for help.
If you have had an accident on a major highway or interstate, you might have to help other motorists navigate the wreckage. You should make sure that the lane, or lanes, is clear before sending anyone through to the other side.
Doing this also gives you a better view of when the medics will arrive. Giving someone the comfort of knowing that help is on the way could be critical to their mood and performance during the emergency.
Assist as Needed
When the medics and law enforcement arrive on the scene, if you are able, try and help them in any way possible. They could have you back working the traffic or need you to help pull someone from one of the vehicles. Keep in mind that these people might not want your help. If that is the case, move away and begin to spend time with the other passengers. In an emergency, every little bit helps.
A prolonged hospital stay can throw your family into a tailspin. If a family member is forced to undergo a prolonged treatment, then you should have a plan set up that takes care of them while the rest of the family continues along as normal as they can. The things to do when you are going in for an extended hospital stay are:
- Power up
- Set the money
- Stay in the loop
- Get fit
- Make friends
This doesn’t mean to acquire superpowers or attach yourself to a high voltage machine, that is for the hospital to do. Power up means that you should give someone power of attorney over your healthcare.
This could include a DNR or whatever your wishes may be. You never know when a routine stay could turn into something that may take you out of consciousness. Having someone you trust to make the decisions for you means that you can work towards getting better and not be heaped with worries.
Set the Money
Power of attorney can also apply to this one, but lumping all your financial matters together isn’t bad. The easiest way to go is to add someone to your existing bank account. That means they can write checks and withdraw money just like you.
Keeping the bills paid and other monetary issues dealt with can be extremely taxing. Trusting someone to have your back in this situation can cause stress. Use someone who will not take advantage of your situation.
Stay in the Loop
With the technology available today, there is no reason you can’t stay in touch with your family while you are in hospital. Hospitals usually have free wifi, but if they don’t, you can use your phone as a hotspot or even buy a cellular hotspot separate from your phone line.
Seeing friends and having an outlet that gets you ‘outside’ the hospital can be invaluable to a patient’s recovery. If they are into gaming, taking a game system inside a hospital room may not be accepted. If that is the case, you can find smaller handheld games and tablets with great games that are comparative to what you see on the primary game systems.
This doesn’t mean that you trim down your marathon time or set a PR in the deadlift. While in for treatment, you will need to walk around the hospital and get some exercise. Being cooped up in a room for days on end will do nothing for your illness, whereas getting a walk in every day will allow your mind to forget what it is undergoing and enjoy moving about the area.
Usually, hospitals are sprawling complexes with long hallways and covered walkways. Depending on your situation, you could take a morning constitutional or have someone give you a ride in your wheelchair.
Stays in the hospital are boring. There isn’t anything going on most of the time, and after a day or two, the newness will wear off. There isn’t a better time to meet the people who work there and get to know them. As the shifts change and the days pass by, you will begin to see their patterns and figure out who they are.
Some lasting friendships have been made between nurses and their patients. If a person knows the nurses and doctor staff are good at their jobs, it will give them a safe state of mind that will allow them to be open to more treatments.
A house fire is one of the most damaging things that a family can go through. There are precautions that you can take with your family emergency plan to involve what to do in a fire. The steps to take in a house fire are:
- Fire extinguisher
- Alert the house
- Call the pros
- Leave valuables behind
- On fire trio
- Cover face
- Close doors
- Stay out
- Meeting spot
Once you see a fire inside the home, you should grab the fire extinguisher and do your best to fight it. If it gets too big to put out, don’t worry, your main goal is to create time to alert the others of a fire.
Often you could have the wrong type of retardant in the canister, and it will be worthless on the fire. If you have a way to use water, it will help but could also lead to electrocution if wires become melted and exposed to water.
Alert the House
Once you have seen that the fire isn’t going to be stopped, you need to tell everyone in the house. They must get out any way that they can. If you have to lower some people down from a second story, do what needs to be done to ensure that your family members are safe.
Pound on and kick in doors if need be to alert people about the fire. If it occurs during the night, some family members might need extra coaxing to wake. If they think it is a dream and go back to sleep, it could be deadly for them and fire personnel when they arrive.
Call the Pros
Once everyone is alerted to the fire and headed towards the exits, you should call the fire department. They are specially trained to handle any type of fire and display some of the most heroic traits in the human condition.
Once the trucks arrive, they will begin to use water or foam to contain the fire. As the fire is contained, they will start to work on putting it out. The department’s job is to protect the community. If your house fire is in danger of starting other fires, they will contain it before they put it out.
Leave Valuables Behind
Don’t try and rush back inside the fire to save a television or other petty items that can be replaced. The safety of you and your family are what matters now. Once the fire is doused, you could save a few things, but if you have a ‘total loss’ fire, the insurance company will repay you for everything inside the home.
The heat inside a house fire will incinerate you if you make the stupid decision to run back in for something that isn’t living. Items can be replaced; family members cannot.
On Fire Trio
A saying that you don’t hear often enough is ‘Stop-Drop-And Roll!’ What we call the fire trio is the way to remember what to do if you catch fire. This can be a scary event, so the cadence is there to give your mind something to recollect as your pain sensors run wild.
Once you notice that you have clothing on fire, you should stop moving. It will keep oxygen from making the fire grow. Once you have finished drop to the ground and begin to roll around. This rolling will trap the fire between your body and the earth, robbing it of needed oxygen.
Cover Your Face
Fire is full of chemicals that will do a number on your lungs. Find a towel or t-shirt to place over your nose and mouth. It would be better if it were wet, but in this situation, anything to keep those chemicals from burning your nose and throat will do.
Take special care not to wear a mask that may obscure your vision. A clear line of sight is something that might not be available. Keep your eyes uncovered; you will need them.
It may not be common knowledge, but closing the doors behind you in a fire will keep the fire from spreading. As you maneuver the halls of your home, waking or alerting the other residents as they leave each room, you should make sure that the door is closed.
Another reason to close the door is that it will give the firefighters a good idea of where you were able to alert people and where you weren’t.
Once you are confident that all the family members are out of the house, do not, for any reason, go back inside. Items can be replaced, and if an animal didn’t make it out, you would be able to find another. You can never replace a family member.
Even though animals take a higher station in today’s life, they should not take precedent over a human family member. Another good reason not to run back inside is that fire personnel could be forced to run in after you. Don’t put lives in danger needlessly.
In your family plan, you should have an assigned meeting spot for your family to meet up after the fire. Nothing can soothe the pain of losing your home like being able to hug your family. Knowing that they are all safe should give you a modicum of satisfaction before delving into the deeper problems that will arise from the fire.
One of the necessities when making an emergency plan is a medkit like you find in any sporting goods section. Different versions of medkit are available worldwide, with a wide array of options and kits. It is best to have a tourniquet and something to clean wounds. Those should always appear in a medical bag. A few other things that should be present in the medical supplies are:
- Alcohol wipes
- Eye protection
- CPR mask
- Hand sanitizer
This equipment should all fit in a small backpack and should be with you everywhere you go. An even better idea is to have a kit placed in every car and home that you have. This way, if something ever happens, you know that there are extras available. Having two of everything is always a great idea!
Something not on the list of items that should go into the medkit is your medical information. Blood type and birthdate are two things that can help the authorities when they arrive on the scene. Having copies of your identification and insurance cards would be a good idea to keep with you at all times.
As was mentioned earlier, there are tons of great models of medkits out there. The camping and hiking industry has always emphasized innovation, and medkits have benefitted greatly. There are medkits for every kind of situation you can imagine.
Buying a medkit for your particular situation might be a bit harder, but the options below will give you some things that are essential for all emergencies.
200 Piece Pro Kit by SwissSafe
|Bright red pack with white cross emblazoned on the front||Signaling mirror||Waterproof|
|Fishing hooks||Ferro rod||Compact|
|Pain killers||Alcohol wipes||Water|
The first thing you notice about the SwissSafe 200 piece is the bright red coloring of the pack. It is a vibrant red with the white cross emblazoned on the front. The package is waterproof and is tri-fold, allowing you access to the pockets inside.
This pack has everything you would need in a life-saving emergency and some survival equipment. There are a tiny saw and fishing hooks inside and a Ferro rod that will help you start a fire. All this, plus the live-saving tools inside, are packed down into a pack that is smaller than your hiking boots.
Be Smart, Get Prepared 250 Piece Kit
|Treats up to 50 patients||Alcohol wipes||Antiseptic towels|
|Ointment packets||Burn cream||Sting relief|
|Bandages||Sterile gauze||Paper towels|
Be Smart, Get Prepared isn’t just one the best slogans you can have; it is also the name of the company that makes this kit. They boast the ability to service over 50 casualties with the equipment inside the giant plastic box.
If you have a larger family, this could be just what you need to make a kit that can travel with you anywhere. If you are a couple, the meds in this kit could last for months or even years before you begin to run low.
BattlBox Combat Medic Bag
|Molle bag||Casualty cards||Triage bands|
|Gauze||Blood type patches||Marker|
|Pain killers||Bug spray||Bite ointment|
One of the premier companies in the outdoors and survival games is BattlBox. They have a subscription service that features some of the coolest innovations in the camping industry. This combat medic bag is one that resembles what combat medics carry into battle.
There are tags for different blood types and even some clotting powders. What makes these kits so special is that they come with combat care cards. These cards will give the first responders any notes or identification that you may be able to provide.
Planning for an emergency is a nebulous act that may never come into being. No matter your family location or situation, you should have the proper plan to take on whatever comes your way. One of the most important things to do in any emergency is to keep your cool.
If you are in a position to save someone’s life, you cannot let the moment keep you from acting. A plan and proper practice will make your brain begin to work on instinct. It will start to perform the routines that you went over with your family in the emergency planning stages.
It also will give you a bit of clarity in what could be a tumultuous situation. When it is time to act, you must not hesitate. Lean on your training and planning, and everything will be just fine.