In situations where you’re in charge, such as babysitting or caring for someone with a health condition, you need to be prepared in advance for emergencies. Here are some things you can do so you can respond quickly if something happens:
- Make sure there’s a list of emergency numbers near each telephone in the house. Most areas in the United States are covered by 911 services. But if you live somewhere that doesn’t have 911 service, have numbers for the police and fire departments, and emergency medical services where you can see them. If you have a cell phone, it’s a good idea to program important numbers into your phone.
- Keep on hand numbers for adults you should call. If you’re babysitting, make sure you have the number and location where the child’s parents will be and, if possible, a cell phone or pager number. If it’s a true emergency – when a child you’re caring for has stopped breathing, for example – always call 911 first, then call the parent.
- If you’re looking after someone with a health condition, know when the person needs to take medications – particularly medicines for breathing or heart problems. Have the person’s insurance information on hand in case you need to rush to the hospital. It’s a good idea to keep all this information written down near the phone so you can find it quickly if you need it.
- Make sure the home or building you’re in has working smoke alarms.
- Make sure your family or the family you’re caring for has a fire escape plan and that children know their outdoor meeting point in case of emergency.
- Take a first-aid class to learn CPR so you’ll be prepared to help someone in an emergency.
- Make sure the poison control center phone number is handy. Some areas have toll-free numbers available.
- Keep a first-aid kit in the house and know how to use it.
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