I am writing this in response to today’s tragedy in San Bernardino.
A city near where my grandmother lived.
A city 3 hours from my home in Las Vegas.
A city where friends and family still live.
A city where social service workers were terrorized.
This story hit too close to home, and again, made me think about my family’s safety plan.
I work as a mental health therapist for domestic violence victims and safety planning takes place during most sessions. Planning for safety doesn’t end when the abuse ends. I’m hard-wired to think about safety so planning for my family comes naturally to me.
This post will illustrate what I do to make sure my family is prepared in case of emergency.
- KEEP YOUR PHONE CHARGED AND CARRY A PORTABLE CHARGER – As I was watching coverage of today’s events I heard survivors and family members saying “I was texting him/her but their phone died.” When me and my husband attend large events or if we won’t be home most of the day, we carry a portable charger. Keep a phone charger in your car. Keep a phone plug in your car. Don’t leave for work with a low phone battery. C’mon man.
- HAVE A DESIGNATED MEETING PLACE – In case phone service is disrupted which house will you meet at? Do you need to consider elderly family members? Who will pick up the kids at school or daycare? If there is an emergency at your job is there a public location you can call for help nearby? Tell your family where that is. If you’re at a large event, designate a meeting place outside the event. People may not remember where the car is parked so that isn’t always a good spot. If you take a picture of where the car is parked make sure you send that picture to who you’re with.
- MEMORIZE PHONE NUMBERS AND YOUR FACEBOOK PASSWORD – I actually gave this advice to my doctor who was attending a NFL game on Thanksgiving. Facebook now has a safety check-in feature that helped Paris attack victims connect with loved ones. If you had to run to safety without your phone, would you know your Facebook password? Logging on to Facebook could alert your family of your whereabouts and let them know your location. Would you know phone numbers of loved ones? I made my mom & husband memorize our numbers in case of emergency. It has actually come in handy. P.S. This is also a tip for kids’ safety. If they can’t memorize it, at least place an emergency card in their backpack.
- KNOW YOUR EXITS – Enough said.
- KEEP A PORTABLE CHARGER IN YOUR CARRY-ON/PURSE WHEN TRAVELLING. – People are always trying to borrow my husband’s portable charger when he’s on a flight.
- IF I HAD KIDS I WOULDN’T SEPARATE FROM THEM IN A LARGE STORE – We actually had a shooting incident at a Walmart in Las Vegas 2 years ago and parents were separated from their children. Scary thought. Do your kids know to look for exits? It’s a discussion worth having in your home.
- SELECT AN EMERGENCY PHRASE TO ALERT EACH OTHER THAT IT’S TIME TO LEAVE – I once saw an “unsavory” character while vacationing that was making me uncomfortable. He was inching closer to me in line and my husband was unaware of this. Luckily, I was able to tell my husband in Spanish about my fear. I may not always be this lucky. I’m naturally perceptive and very aware of my surroundings. I felt more comfortable having an emergency phrase so my husband would know that I felt danger was near. If you see something, say something right?
This list will probably grow as our sense of safety continues to shift and this could double as a safety list for travel.
These safety tips may not prevent anything bad from happening, but for me, it helps me feel more secure that I can reconnect with my family “just in case.”
Any tips you would like to share?