Are We Prepared for an Emergency?

UCLA Health

During an emergency, it's easy to become disoriented and upset, so having a list of important phone numbers readily available ahead of time may keep the whole family prepared.

Write each phone number clearly so that it will be easy for children to read. Make copies of the completed list and place it near every telephone in the house, on the refrigerator, in your cell phone and in the car.

The list should include important emergency phone numbers, any known allergies (especially to any medication), medical conditions, medications taken by family members, and insurance information for all members of the family. Make sure that anyone who comes to the house to watch your children (babysitters or relatives, for example) familiarizes themselves with the list. If a babysitter takes the children out, make sure he or she also carries the list
of numbers.

Be sure to teach your children how to call for help. Even very young children can be taught how to place an emergency call for help. The most important advice is for them to stay calm and speak slowly and clearly. To place a call to 911 and talk to the operator, children should know: how to dial 911, their full name, their full address and how to give a short description of the emergency. Have your kids practice by speaking into a telephone (make sure the telephone is off).

Emergency Contact List should include phone numbers for:

  • Emergency medical services: In most places this is 911, but your community may have its own number.
  • Poison control center: 1-800-222-1222.
  • Hospital emergency room
  • Fire department
  • Police department
  • Pharmacy
  • Child's doctor
  • Parents' work
  • Parents' cell phone and/or pager
  • Neighbors and/or relatives


Staying Prepared While Traveling

If you're planning a trip to another country, make sure you know how to get help if the need arises. It's better to be prepared and keep a list of international numbers. Lists of international emergency numbers are available online and from embassies for each country.

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