Sunday, July 19, 2009

Are you Ready? Being Prepared for Personal Emergencies

As nannies we are so consumed with the safety and well-being of our charges and the families we care for, we often forget to include ourselves in emergency preparedness. At any time an accident can occur and with that comes a multitude of responsibility. Are you prepared? Are you prepared should YOU be the one that needs help, and not your charge or family?

I have every phone number, address, insurance number for my charges and parents, but what if something happens to me? My employer knows I have an aunt in Richmond, and that I have friends in the area, but do they know how to reach them? I’ve been fortunate to never have been seriously injured or ill, but I know nannies that have been. It has been their responsibility to call family or friends to help when needed.

So what can we do? What can we ask of our employer should something happen?

Prepare for the unexpected.

Accidents happen. On and off the job. Many nannies are hundreds, if not thousands of miles from home. Prepare a list of names and contact information to give to your employer to keep on file. Instruct them whom to contact and how, should an emergency should arise.

Provide your insurance information to your employer as a backup. If you are traveling with your employer this information can come in handy.

Discuss with your employer your reasoning for asking them to do this. Car accidents, falls, injuries, sudden illness … your mind should be on getting immediate medical attention, not having to contact people.

Hopefully you have a good relationship with your employer and are comfortable asking them to do this. If not, ask a close friend or neighbor who can step in should you need help.

If you don’t have your employers contact information – ask them for it. Say you are babysitting for them late one night and the police show up at the door. The parents have been involved in a serious car accident and both are hurt. What do you do? Whom do you contact? Having a list of family or friends that they wish to be notified should something happen can help you remain calm and focus on what needs to be done.

Police and emergency personnel recommend keeping an I C E number in your phone. I C E stands for IN CASE of EMERGENCY. This alerts police, emergency personnel and hospital staff of whom to call should you be involved in an accident. In your phone address book, list I C E and any person/number you wish contacted. This helps save valuable time in an emergency.

Also, keep in writing an emergency contact card in your vehicle. You can keep this in the glove compartment or with your insurance/registration information. This can be a listing of all personal information for you, the child/children in your car, emergency contact information to reach the parents, etc. Medical conditions, medications, doctor names and contact info and more. You should also keep a copy of your emergency medical release for the child/children in the car with you at all times. I also recommend keeping all important documents in a Ziploc clearly labeled IN CASE OF EMERGENCY CONTACT INFORMATION.

Following these recommendations also helps you open up the lines of communication with your employer on what the expectations should are an emergency arise. How would they handle a situation if it involved the children? What if you had an accident off-hours in a car they provided? Do you have that outlined in your work agreement? Who’s responsible for work related accidents, even if you are not at fault?

So many responsibilities, so many opportunities for something to happen … ARE YOU PREPARED?

1 comment:

April said...

I have to tell you, I have never thought about being prepared myself. I am definitly going to do some of that stuff. Thank you so much for bring my attention to it!!!