Expect the Unexpected

This past weekend I was visiting my sister when her husband experienced a medical emergency which resulted in an ambulance ride to the hospital and an angioplasty.  He is doing well but going through this with them prompted this reminder to expect the unexpected.

My sister had her husband’s social security number in a file in her Blackberry and it made me realize, neither my husband nor I carry the other’s information with us.   We have the information, but in an emergency, it needs to be more immediately accessible.  As soon as I got home, we added important data on each other to cryptically labeled folders in our phones “just in case”.

The other bit of information she had to ask her husband was the password to his phone.  He was able to tell her and she checked for any important messages and contacted the caretakers for his mom so no one would be alarmed when he did not make his daily visit for the next few days.

Is your phone password protected?  What about your computer?  What if you were incapacitated – even for a few days – and someone needed to access your contacts?  You may think, “I’ll just tell someone” but what if you can’t?  What if you are not conscious or are sedated?

Write down your critical information and leave it with a trusted person – whoever is most likely going to be called on your behalf in case of an emergency.  While you’re at it designate that person and provide all phone numbers on an “In Case of Emergency” card in your wallet.

If you run a small business there may be more information you need to document in order for someone to help out in the event of an emergency.  Give it some thought.  What would someone need to know in order if you were unexpectedly out of commission for a day?  A week?  Longer?

Make an “emergency contingency plan”.  It’s fine to store it in your computer so you can update it regularly – and you should update it regularly.  Just be sure your trusted person can access the computer and knows where to look for the information in case of emergency.  That includes a key to your office and/or home as well as any password required to access the file.

You may be feeling just fine and think you will never need an emergency plan.  I hope that’s true.  But just remember, my brother-in-law didn’t think Saturday morning he was going to need one.  Nor did the 21 year old son of a neighbor.

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