emergency plan

Ella was just three the day I thought I was having a heart attack. Turns out, it was just a bit of indigestion. I may have slightly overreacted. It prompted me to write the post I don’t want to leave my daughters helpless about teaching Ella what to do in an emergency.

I posted about it on Facebook and got a host of suggestions on ways to educate them, including the hilarious response from Barb who, after teaching her daughter to dial 000, decided to feign collapse. Instead of ringing for help, her daughter jumped up and down on her guts… not a good result

Ella is now nearly five and learning to read, so I thought it was time we updated our emergency plan. If you can recall, the ringing Dad bit was easy. If Dad didn’t answer, then teaching her to ring 000 was fine too.

It was this conversation that was worrying:

Where do you live, Ella?
Ella: “Hippopatmus Drv, Devonport (not our real street address, in case you were wondering!)’’. That’s fantastic, except we’re missing the all-important house number.
“I don’t know.’’ After explaining that, yes, it’s seven, we tried again.
“7 Hippopotamus Dve, Hobart’’. What? OK, so we’d just been to Hobart for a holiday. Let’s try again.
“Devonport’’ OK, what about the rest of the address? Try again.
“Um, I can’t remember.’’

Challenging? Just slightly!

While she knows our address well now, I’ve created an emergency plan with the crucial name and address on it incase (heaven forbid) she draws a plank under pressure. At least if she forgets her address or struggles reading the words on the plan, she can spell out the letters!

Here’s a downloadable version of our plan  (with three options depending on your phone) to take your child through the process of:

1. Finding the phone:

2. Dialing the number

3. Pressing the “call” button

4. Speaking to dad/mum

5. If dad/mum doesn’t answer, hang up and dial 000 and press “call”.

6. Then, for those children that can read, having their name and address clearly written.

Click the image or the links to download a copy of the one relevant to you, print and stick near your phone.

Emergency with phone number first

1. With the phone number, then the call button

Emergency plan with call button first

2. With the call button, then the phone number

Emergency plan using coloured dots and programmed numbers
3. With a coloured dot to signify programmed numbers (you can place coloured dots on the number son your phone).

Other tips from readers:

  • Place important numbers on speed dial. For example, Dad is 1, Mum 2, Grandma 3, 000 is 4…
  • Again, use speed dial, but replace the number with coloured dots. Use Dad’s favourite colour.
  • Place the coloured dots on the numbers on the phone and pictures of each person on the fridge with their colour next to them.
  • Teach kids to call “triple zero’’, rather than “triple O”. With text messaging so big these days the young are trying to dial “666″ – ie the letter “o” button!
  • When teaching children their address, ask them questions as you’re driving home. For example, “now we’re turning in to our street. Which street do we live in?’’ and count down the houses till you get to your house. “What number do we live at?’’ and “what colour is our house?’’

Have you taught your child what to do in an emergency? What are your tips?

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14 Responses to The day I thought I was having a heart attack – emergency plan for kids

  1. GREAT tips. This is something I have not thought about yet but is really important. I am going to make a plan for this. Thank you
    Do you really live on hippopotomus drive? What a cool street name
    Caz Makepeace recently posted..Are you Bent on Food?My Profile

    • Kel says:

      Hehe!! No, just changed that for the benefit of of privacy. I explained that in the post two years ago, but you’ve just brought to my attention that I probably should explain it here. I’m sure someone, somewhere lives on Hippopotamus Drive though! 😉
      I have to admit, Caz, it’s not something I EVER thought about until I felt I had to!

  2. katepickle says:

    This is such important stuff…

    I’d only vaguely thought about this before my husband nearly died on our lounge room floor about a year and a half ago. As I crammed kids into the car and followed the ambulance to the hospital all I could think was ‘what would have happened if he’d been home alone with the kids??’

    Now we have taught our older kids the number to access our mobile phones and how to call 000 or mum/dad/Nanny for help. My girls still struggle to remember our phone number and street address but we are working on that. We’ve also taught them where they can go for help… since we live in a rural area it’s not just a matter of going next door since next door is just sheep 🙂
    katepickle recently posted..Fruity Oatmeal CookiesMy Profile

    • Kel says:

      Glad you have a plan in place, Kate. There’s nothing like a real life experience to kick you into action.
      We lived in the country as kids, but never had any idea what to do if something went wrong. That’s frightening to think of now!
      Ella has memory lapses with our address still sometimes, so I feel more comfortable having it in writing where she can spell out the letters to an operator if need be. Let’s hope it never comes to that though! 🙂

  3. Lisa Wood says:

    Never thought to teach our kids about how to ring 000 or what to say in case of an emergency! Must think about this one because they dont really know where we are parked 🙂
    They know the area but not the Caravan Park address!
    I like the idea of the speed dial numbers. Will need to set that up so they can call Dad easily 🙂
    Great tips.

    Lisa Wood recently posted..Travelling Around Australia :: How To Claim The Most TaxMy Profile

  4. Lisa says:

    We have had this discussion (to memorise our address we make up stories at bedtime with our address in them) but we don’t have a landline so I do worry that I will be unconscious and the kids won’t be able to get passed the password to call 000! Our 4 year old knows to call 000 but does not know our mobile passwords which defeats the purpose!
    Lisa recently posted..10 Tips for Dads with Newborn BabiesMy Profile

    • Kel says:

      That’s always a tricky one, Lisa. I don’t have a password on my mobile, so Ella would be capable of using that (and knows how to use it better than me!!). I’m not sure how you get around the password situation.
      I’m also starting to teach Ella that another option is to go next door. We have fabulous neighbours, so maybe that’s another option?

  5. nellbe says:

    I worry about being home alone with my now 3 year old, he wouldn’t be able to ring anyone. With my 7 year old, when he is home, it is a different story, he knows to call Triple O and he knows his nan’s number off by heart plus he knows he can go next door.

    Basically I keep in contact with hubby all day, a quick email or SMS about once a hour or every couple of hours so he knows we are ok. We are great friends with next door so if he cannot get me he would SMS them and they would come over.

    So glad you were ok Kelly – how scary for you.
    nellbe recently posted..Gluten Free Apps – Free for iPhone, iPad and Google Play (Android)My Profile

    • Kel says:

      I do much the same, Nellbe. If I’m not texting or phoning, I’m sending an email. It shows why having good neighbours is important in an age where so many people don’t tend to even know who their neighbours are.
      I think our kids would probably surprise us in how they coped if this ever did happen too (not that I want to find out!!!!!). x

  6. As I’m a single Mum with health problems, my kids know the drill, and we go through it constantly. Mr 11 even knows that if Aussies mistakenly dial 911, it gets redirected to 000. He also knows a lot of resuscitation and first aid techniques and I’ve wondered about doing a first aid refresher myself and checking out first aid courses for juniors. Is it going too far? I don’t want the kids to worry about needing to use 000, but I just want it to be second nature if they ever have to. And above all, not to panic or be scared about it. I think you’ve shared some good tips here.

    • Kel says:

      I didn’t know that, Bronnie. I love that you’re kids are so prepared though. And that they know about 911 – one that I didn’t even know!
      It’s hard to know what’s too much and what’s not enough with this sort of thing, Bronnie. If the kids are willing to learn, it doesn’t stress them out and it gives you peace of mind, I can’t see any problems. x

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