Preparedness Tip: Keep Pictures of Family, Pets Handy in Case of Emergency
Jon Stokes 04.06.17
Whenever the family is going for an outing in an unfamiliar place, I make cards for all of us. The further out we go, the ‘fancier’ the cards get.
We almost never leave the state and hadn’t flown on a family vacation for ten years, when we were invited to a big family reunion nearly entirely across the country. I made two parent cards and three (I have three kids) kid cards. The parent cards had a recent (face) picture of the parent and pictures of all three kids, plus parent name, parent cell phone, kid names, and flight information for going out and coming home. Each kid card had a recent (face) picture of the kid, pictures of both parents, both parents’ cell phones, plus the flight information for going out and coming home.
So if a kid managed to get separated from us (which didn’t happen), they were instructed to find someone in uniform and present their card while explaining that they were lost. With their card, someone could contact us, verify that we were the parent, and get an idea of where in the airport we were if it happened in the airport.
Each year, before we go to the big agricultural fair in our area, I make up simpler cards that simply have the kid’s recent picture, name, and parental cell phones; I print two of each and keep one in my wallet. So if I were to lose a kid, the kid could get help and I could get help.
I’m a homeschool mom, so I already have fifty thousand cards in my wallet. Three more is worth it.
My wife and I volunteered in Red Cross shelters on the Gulf Coast after Katrina, and most of what we did was trying to connect people with lost/missing family, friends, and pets.
When the crisis struck, the city was largely unprepared, and people were shuffled onto buses and moved out from wherever they were at the moment. This meant that kids weren’t were their parents, and parents weren’t with elderly grandparents, husbands and wives weren’t together, and so on. You just got out of Dodge, and tried to reconnect later.
Nowadays, with Facebook and iPhones and so on, the situation would’ve been drastically different. But it’s not always guaranteed that if a sudden, massive disaster strikes we’ll have all that infrastructure that, though it’s new as of 2008 or so, we already take for granted.
So I think it’s a fantastic idea to print up photo cards with as much info as possible for kids, pets, and anyone you care about to have on their person. The best-case scenario is when your kids grow up, they have a “my parents were so crazy, they made us carry around these cards” story to tell their friends. The worst-case scenario is that those cards get posted on a board somewhere, along with further contact instructions.