Be Prepared: Tips for Displaying Critical Emergency Contact Information to First Responders
It's always a good idea to have multiple methods for providing emergency contact information and medical conditions to first responders
We don't often think about it, but how will emergency personnel get in touch with our loved ones if we can't speak? What if we have critical allergies or health conditions that should be communicated to medical staff before treatment? What if we have pets home alone and no one to check on them? It's very important to keep medical and contact information easily accessible should it ever be needed.
Going Digital isn't foolproof
Our phones are a treasure trove of data and information. It's a great idea to keep emergency contact information and medical information in our phones, most of which have a section for this specific purpose. But phones and other tech aren't necessarily the best ways to store and provide emergency medical and contact information. What if your phone is damaged or lost in a crash? What if you have a secure password policy that prevents the first responders from getting to the information? Does the first responder even know where to look on your phone to find the information?
In addition to using the emergency medical information feature on your smartphone, you can consider creating a lock screen image that contains critical emergency information, especially if you have a serious but not apparent medical condition that needs frequent treatment. When first responders try accessing your phone to find your next of kin, this information will display immediately. Some apps are even designed to display this information automatically on your lock screen for you.
Who doesn't like stickers?
As kids, stickers of all kinds caught our attention. Why not catch someone's attention with a sticker of your own? These stickers can be placed in key locations, such as on the back of your cell phone or cell phone case, on your dashboard in the car, on the baby's car seat, or on your front door. Some services even allow you to put detailed information onto a QR code that can then be placed on stickers. But be careful not to put any sensitive information out there for thieves to find.
There are many different kinds of stickers you can purchase. Some are designed to allow you to complete emergency contact numbers. Some let first responders know that you have pets home alone. Some even advise that you have a service dog that may or may not be 'in uniform' and that the dog should not be separated from you. Some are designed specifically to advise of serious allergies.
If you have serious medical conditions or if there is something critical that first responders should know, you want a paper backup. Your phone might get lost. Your emergency sticker might be worn out or lost with your phone.
Keep your emergency information in your wallet and your glove box in the car. Consider printing this information on a sturdy card or have it laminated. Type is better than handwriting since it's easier to read.
Don't Forget Your Pets
If you live with a furry companion, it's important to ensure that they're taken care of should something happen to you. This is especially important if you have no one nearby who knows to check on them. It's also a good idea to list your vet's contact information, as well. Sometimes your vet will offer to board your pets while you are incapacitated in order to ensure proper care.
Make sure to note any special arrangements your pets need, as well as any behavioral conditions. If the dog might bite or tries running out the door when opened, make sure you warn of it. You want to notify first responders not only of your medical needs, but also your pets' medical needs. If your dog needs daily heart medication, make sure someone knows and where to find it. It's no good to tell someone the pet needs medication if the medication is buried in a drawer somewhere.
Important information includes:
- Phone number
- Allergies and reactions
- Medical conditions
- Blood type
- Height and weight
- Emergency contacts
- A current photo