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Create Emergency Contact Cards

by Tania Hagan
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Emergency contact cards can prevent a bad situation from getting worse. An unexpected emergency can shatter the lives of any family at any time, but wallet-sized emergency contact cards ensure that everyone is better prepared if a sudden crisis strikes.

Imagine the horror of a neighbor getting into a car accident and dying alone in an emergency room simply because contact information wasn’t readily available and family members were notified too late. Or think about a teenager who falls off his bike and can’t communicate with paramedics called to the scene. If he had an emergency card in his wallet, medical personnel would be able to quickly know information vital to his case, such as contact information, allergies, and medical history.

Fortunately, you can prevent these heartbreaking scenarios from happening. Start by making emergency contact cards for yourself and every member of your household. Then, get the word out to help others achieve some peace of mind in the face of tragedy.

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To create emergency contact cards for your loved ones:

  • First, you will need to gather information about each family member. Compile this data in a detailed list. You will later transfer this information to your emergency contact cards.  Some key areas to cover in your research are medical conditions and allergies, medications regularly taken, emergency contact names and phone numbers, and physician contact information.  When you list medical conditions, make sure to list any allergies to medication. All medical conditions that you are aware of should be noted.  Emergency contact information should include names, phone numbers, and addresses. List at least three reliable contacts for each family member. Remember to include alternate or cell phone numbers for each contact on this list. It is a good idea to list out-of-town relatives or friends as well as local contacts. (This is beneficial if, unfortunately, your whole nuclear family was in an accident or if a natural disaster struck your area. It may be easier to call out of the area if local phone lines are down or overloaded.)
  • After collecting the emergency information from your family, produce your cards. The American Red Cross and Med IDs provide free, ready-made, printable emergency contact cards. Simply transfer the emergency data you gathered to the cards. Microsoft Office also has a template, or you can create your own design with any word-processing program. If you choose the self-made cards, make sure you include all of the information your family would need in the event of a medical emergency.
  • Print the emergency contact cards on heavier-stock paper. If possible, laminate the cards so your family can hang on to them for a while.
  • You can purchase card-stock paper at any office-supply store. Most of these stores also offer laminating services for a nominal fee.
  • Pick a date every year to review the emergency contact cards. Glance at the information to make sure none of the contact names, numbers, or other essential details have changed. Print out new cards for everyone in your household as often as needed.

To encourage others to make emergency contact cards:

  • Send letters to senior centers, libraries, women’s clubs, and neighborhood associations urging them to hold drives at their events where attendees can input their information and print out emergency contact cards on the spot. Lobby local schools and universities to make emergency contact cards part of their standard registration procedure at the start of each school year.
  • Forward this article to ten friends or co-workers along with a personal plea to take the time to make an emergency contact card this weekend.
  • Print out ten copies of this article and make it your goal to find ten different bulletin boards to post them on this week as you go about your normal routine.

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