Imagine your child or spouse is injured accidentally at home – would you know what to do?
This past weekend, clients of mine (who are also my Facebook friends) posted about their son being injured in an accident. He will be ok, but my heart was instantly in my throat, thinking about the family and about the times I have had to rush my children to the hospital or call an ambulance (for my child or someone else). I can count the number of times this has happened on one hand, but I remember each situation vividly.
Just so we are all clear, I am horrible in a crisis when it involves my own family. I am a bumbling mess of tears. If it were your crisis, I would be calm, cool and collected and I would know exactly what to do. I’m going to need to take some of my own advice here.
So, do you know what you need to do in an emergency?
First of all, if you are calling 911 and emergency personnel needs to get to your house, can you give directions? What side of the street is your house on? Are the numbers visible? I have lived in rural areas for most of my adult life and it is not necessarily easy to get to where I have lived.
I remember saying one time when I called an ambulance because my daughter had a febrile seizure and had turned blue, “well, I think there is a tree in front of the sign where you turn onto our street, but it is the first right.” Um, not necessarily helpful but at least I had it together enough to remember that. Being able to give detailed directions on how to locate your house can save valuable time when emergency personnel are trying to get to you.
Think about how to get to your house and how to give accurate instructions, and make sure you know the answers. Also, if you ever have a babysitter or house-sitter, make sure they know your address and, ideally, proper instructions on how to get there.
Also, if you call 911 and are giving first aid to someone, make sure the door is unlocked so emergency personnel can get in. If extra people are around, have them wait at the end of the driveway (or road) to signal emergency vehicles.
If your spouse, partner or child had to go to the hospital, would you be able to tell medical personnel what medications they are on and in what dosage, who their family doctor is, what medical conditions they have, any allergies, and what surgeries they have had? Sounds easy enough, but I have been asked all of those questions and have not known the exact answer for all of them.
And what if you were injured? Do the people who would be caring for you know the answers to those questions about you? What about the people who might care for your children if something happens to you? Would they know the answers? At Journey Law , as part of my process when doing estate planning for parents, we prepare a document with parents that contains all this important information for the potential caregivers of their child(ren).
This isn’t just about people either. If your pet had an emergency, you would need to know when they were born, what shots they have had and when, and the date of any surgeries they have had.
Some things in general to remember in an emergency:
- Take deep breaths to calm down and make sure you are getting enough oxygen. If you can’t calm down, get help immediately.
- Figure out what you need to do and do it. Take a moment to look at the options and make a plan and then do it.
- Call 911 or your local emergency as soon as you have done what you can do. If you are not alone, someone should call the emergency number immediately, before you go through items one and two.
- Relax. There is not much else you can do after you have called 911. Keep breathing deeply so you don’t freak out.
Of course, emergency first aid training will always be helpful in an emergency situation. Consider getting some basic first aid and CPR training to help be more prepared.
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Michele R.J. Allinotte is the owner of Journey Law Professional Corporation in Cornwall, Ontario and she helps her clients make the best decisions for themselves, their families and their businesses. Her practice focuses on the areas of business law, estate planning and real estate. Visit www.YourCornwallLawyer.com to get her FREE Peace of Mind Personal Inventory to make sure that your family has all the information they need.