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Creating a Culture of Self-Reliance: Step Five

It’s telephone time. If you have not already done so choose an out of area person as your contact in case of an emergency. This person will agree to relay information to extended family and/or friends should you need to notify them during an emergency. They will also act as the person all family members will call if separated during an emergency. For example, if you have a child in school and you are at work when an earthquake or other disaster, that cannot be predicted, strikes you will all call this person. A child may call to find out if mom and dad have checked in and where they are. A parent may call to tell the contact where they are and also check to see if a child or spouse has checked in. Grandma may call the contact to check on the family when she hears there was an earthquake. Dad may call and ask the contact person to call grandma because he knows she will be worried. Be sure your contact person is willing to fill this role and equip them will all your phone numbers as well as the numbers of those they may need to contact.

Once you have an out of area person on board it’s time to practice. Have each child call that person so they feel comfortable and confident they would know how. Be sure children and all family members have the number of their contact person in their backpacks or wallets at all times.

While you are practicing on the phone it is time to call 911. I have had to do this several times and it makes me nervous each time because the only time you need to call is when there is a real emergency. Those are usually scary.

Print a copy of the article: Calling 911 and discuss it as a family. Arrange with a friend for them to play the role of a 911 operator. Send a copy of the article to your 911 operator so they will know the questions to ask. Finally, have the children call and practice the emergency they are reporting. Each child may report a different emergency so they can hear each other practice and thus build confidence. Don't forget to add the article to your Emergency Binder.

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