A few days ago I was meeting a friend that is never late and is basically glued to her phone. So when she was 30 minutes late, not answering her phone, not reading or replying to messages, I started worrying about her. I ran through few worse-case scenarios, including an accident etc.
And as I was going through scenario’s I realised that if something happened to her and she was unresponsive I had no way of informing her parents, siblings or other close friends. I also had no idea whether she is on medical aid, her past medical history, her allergies etc. Somehow we’ve never covered these things in our general conversations. And then I thought that as friends that hike together, go camping and do other outdoors stuff, it’s actually irresponsible and risky not to know these basics about friends.
A quick check with some other friends revealed that most of us have never thought about emergency preparedness as a ‘friend responsibility’. Since then I’ve been on a mission to get a few basic things sorted and to educate some of my friends of the importance of sharing emergency contact details. I think that it’s especially important for those of us that live far away from our family, we will have to rely on our friends should anything happen.
So here is a few things that you can do today, it’s by no means exhaustive, but it covers the basics!
- Ask your friends for their closest family member’s contact details, this includes a physical address. In case of an injury or sudden severe illness, you want to know that you can get hold of their family.
- Ask your friends for their basic medical information including known allergies, if they are on chronic medication and maybe even whether they are organ donors, their blood type etc.
- Confirm if they are on medical aid and know where they keep their medical aid cards and identity documents. And remember to always take these with when you go camping or hiking.
- At least one other friend should have access to your house. And maybe even know where you keep your important documents including a will, information on disability cover etc.
- Know this: if a phone is locked you can still access emergency services on the phone, press on the screen and dial 112. I think that this is really important to teach children so that they can obtain help should something happen to a parent.
Use your phone! Save your emergency details and basic information on your phone, I’m not sure how this works on other phones but here goes for iPhone: Go to the health app, click on medical ID. Enter your details; emergency contacts and add medical aid details at medical notes.
In order to access the patient’s emergency contact details on a locked phone, simply press on emergency and it will give you the option to select medical ID. Click on that, viola! Not only do you have the medical details, but you can also call the emergency contacts and access their information such as physical address.
As the boy scouts say: Be Prepared!
This is not my normal type of blog, I just really felt that I had to share it though. Please share and if you have more tips feel free to comment and add.