How can you prepare your family for an emergency?

An emergency situation in your home can cause instant chaos. The most important thing to concentrate on in a medical emergency is taking care of the injured person. Time is of the essence. The best way to avoid confusion is by preparing your family in advance. A family discussion including small children is a good way to plan what happens if someone needs to go to the hospital. Learning first aid basics can also be helpful.

Every member of the family should know how to dial 911. It’s a good idea to go over answering the kind of questions that will be asked. Children should know what situations are considered 911 emergencies, and how to describe what happened. "What if" situations could be played out as a family, for practice. Children should be able to give their name, address and phone number, as well as being able to explain who needs help and who is at home with them. Your family emergency plan should include specific instructions. Everyone should know who they need to call and what they need to do. You may need to call the office, or another family member, or a babysitter. Contingency plans should be mapped out for every possibility. Emergencies can happen at all hours, and that should be taken into account when dividing up responsibilities. Sometimes what seemed to be an emergency situation turns out to be a false alarm. This kind of situation needs to be resolved as well, to update whoever was called.


If the emergency involves going to a hospital or clinic, basic information about each potential patient should be at hand. Nobody can count on remembering details in a crisis situation, so a family emergency kit should be prepared. Important family medical information should be easily accessible and ready to go. If there is a family emergency plan, then in a crisis situation all family members know what part they play.