Call me a worrier, but I sometimes get nervous about what will happen to us if there is an emergency. I was determined to go over some basic safety information with the kids this year. We moved in to a new house not too long ago and we don't know many neighbours yet. I don't expect much from my 2 year old, but I think that my 7 year old could do with practice making phone calls and summoning help if necessary.
There is a post going around the Internet which suggests that people place emergency information on their car seats. Apparently emergency crews often find the driver hurt in an accident and no one can give basic information such as name, age, etc for the passengers.
I decided to set myself a few tasks for the new year:
1. Important Numbers list. I typed and laminated phone numbers to put by the main phone. Since my 7 year old doesn't use the phone much I had him practice reading the names, dialling numbers and also how to access these using my mobile phone. We did a "fake" emergency to Daddy pretending he was 999. I included numbers for emergency (999), my mobile, their father, my parents, the nursery, the childminder, and a neighbour they know. Our address is there with the postcode in bold red letters. I had my son practice the address as well. The nice thing about this list is that I have the numbers handy and they are there for babysitters too.
2. Emergency Contact List. I typed and laminated this list which includes a "who lives here" section and an emergency contact list. We have our names, date of birth, allergies, blood type etc. I put large red crosses on the back to indicate they are to be used in emergencies. One is hanging by the front door and one is taped in the car. (I flipped them over so the cross is seen and not our personal information for all to see).
3. Emergency keys. I have to keep my two doors locked because my 2 year old would happily run around the neighbourhood if I didn't. So I shrunk the emergency contact info and laminated it to make two 3"x4" cards. One is with the spare front door key and one with the back door key. I hung them so the 7 year old can reach them but the 2 year old cannot (she would take them to play with).
4. Fire Safety. We went over a few drills crawling around on the floor to stay below the "smoke." We had a good look at the windows and decided which ones may or may not be safe to jump out of (we live in a bungalow). We put smoke alarm testing on our calendar so we remember to do it. When I moved in I wasn't; given the window key to one of the windows so I contacted the council (who owns it) about this. Our local fire brigade gave me a lot of fire safety information and it suggests closing doors at night to help slow down a fire. For instance if there is a fire in the kitchen having the kitchen and bedroom doors closed will help contain the fire for a short time while the smoke will still set off the alarm allowing you time to get out. We have a fire blanket in the kitchen and we take it outside when we have a BBQ. We keep a bucket of water near the BBQ as well.
5. Practice Runs. In addition to the phone calls above we had an emergency scenario where I pretended I fell, hurt my leg and couldn't walk. We pre-arranged a script in which he runs to a neighbour to get some immediate adult help.
I am glad that we did these and I am especially proud of my son for taking part. I don't want to scare the kids too much (or turn them into worriers like me), but I think that the fun of play acting has also helped boost his confidence in a new neighbourhood.
My son does some basic first aid with his scout troop and his father is a First Aider. So we might practice some of these skills in the coming months just for fun.