There are five phone numbers that should be programmed in your phone, your spouse’s phone, your house phone, and any other phone you might pick up and use in an emergency.When things go sideways, the last thing you’ll want to do is wait for Google to find them for you.
When your child swallows something he shouldn’t, you will need to call them fast. The time my kid drank orange oil cleanser, they were able to confirm that it indeed is not poisonous, although since it IS an emetic, he was projectile vomiting everywhere. If he’d been puking because it was toxic, I’d have needed to take him to the ER instead of just giving him a bath and feeding him. The time he and his bestie broke into the medicine cabinet, Poison Control not only calmed me down, they also called ahead to alert the hospital we were coming. They were ready for us and knew exactly what they were dealing with- no reaction time required. No time wasted explaining the situation. They were able to start examining and treating the kids immediately.
So, you and your kids are at the park with friends, when you notice someone lurking in the nearby woods and staring at the kids. Is he a harmless but troubled person, or a deranged ex plotting a kidnapping attempt? No way to know, but if you think it’s suspicious, you should alert the local police.
Or, you are coming out of your favorite, family friendly coffee shop and you see a car sideswipe yours and take off. 911 is not appropriate, since no one was injured, but you will need to report the hit and run.
I live in a large metropolitan area that spans several localities, so I have programmed all of their local police numbers into my phone. That non-emergency number might sometimes be your best choice in an emergency, as well. If you are using a cell phone, sometimes 911 calls are routed to the dispatcher nearest your billing address, meaning that calling the non-emergency number could get you to the nearest responders more quickly.
911 can send an ambulance to pick you up, and if there is any threat to life or limb, you should always go that route. The EMTs are much more capable of handling an emergent situation on the go than you are. But there are also many non-life threatening situations where you may choose to drive to the hospital yourself. In that case, you may want to call ahead, either to alert them what’s coming (As in my “kids and the medicine cabinet” example, when we were told to drive to the ER, but there was still no time to waste when we got there) or to get directions if you need them. Sure you know how to get there from your house, but if your kid needs stitches after a particularly rowdy soccer game, you are not going to want to make a wrong turn that puts you on the interstate.
You probably never think about this one. I mean, your friends numbers are naturally programmed in your phone, right? But what about your spouse? Does he or she have your closest friend programmed in? You know, the one you’d call to pick up your kid at school when you’ve been in a fender bender and have to wait on the accident report? Now that your phone is broken from the accident, can your spouse call her? Do it now.
Child’s School/Daycare Provider
Again, this is one you probably don’t think about. Of course you have this number ready to go. But does your emergency contact have it programmed in their phone, too? Your spouse? Your home phone?
Having these five numbers always at your fingertips will prevent a lot of stress in already stressful situations. Don’t put it on your “to do” list, put it on your “DONE IT” list.