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Family emergency plan


Juba
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My wife and I have been here in Australia for 6 months and have been so busy trying to find our feet and also exploring our new environment that none of us really gave any real thought as to what would happen/should happen if.....

This topic may have been discussed before but I could not find anything so I thought it would be a good idea to post it on here, some of you may already have an emergency plan in place others (like me) not.

I was doing a bit of shopping today with my 2 kids. My son (almost 3), baby girl (turns 1 in 4 days time) were shopping for a birthday cake and so on. After we bought everything for her birthday, we were heading back to the car which was parked on the other side of the shopping mall. My daughter was sitting in the stroller and my son held my hand (most of the time). We got to a kind of a junction inside the mall and I was well aware that my son was not holding my hand and was looking at all the different people, shops...... he was about 4 meters behind me so I stopped just past the centre of the junction so that I am not in the way of everyone. The mall was really not that busy. So while I stood there watching my son and waiting for him to catch up I saw that he suddenly became aware of the fact that he does not know where his dad is anymore...It broke my heart to see how small he really was. He paniced...ran flat out for about 10 meters in one direction and then the other. I called out his name but he did not hear me. The he started to cry. I was suddenly taken back to the one or two occasions in my life as a child when for that brief moment, you think that your parents are gone. We are Afrikaans, my son can speak a little English but would not do well if he had to explain his situation to anyone.

So, this really got to me and got me thinking. What if... Do you have a plan? We do not have any family in Australia either.

I started to think and came up with the following, please add if you can think of anything else or share your plan with us. Some of the things below are very simple but if certain things are not in place..who knows what can happen.

So tomorrow I am going to:

1.Put emergency contact details on my phone, on my car keys etc. These would include names and numbers for people in Aus and SA

2.Talk to my friends here so that they know what to do, should something happen to us, ie take care of the kids until my parents or other family can come over.

3. Get life insurance or some kind of plan in place, should one of us ....you know. I was thinking about how we will pay rent etc if only 1 of us could work etc. I also do not want my children to go back to SA if I can help it...still working on this

4. Inform or send my family in SA a copy of the plan with all the details in it.

5. I still need to find a way to try and explain to my son that .....not sure about his one but I will sit down with him and at least tell him what to do when he gets lost.

6.I am going to print out the details of my nearest emergency facility, police station etc

7.I was not worried that much about my son's english but will have to get him to improve on it a little.

8. I was hoping that you guys could suggest a few more procedure that one should put in place

I just hope I can sleep tonight.....

Anyway, I hope to get some feedback on this and for those that do not have something in place..maybe now is a good time to think about it.

Juba

Edited by Juba
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I heard of someone who got ID bracelets for both her children, on the back they have their names and her and husbands mobile numbers, she ensures that they are wearing them when they go out anywhere.

You are right to be worried, especially with what happens to your children, should something happen to you both.

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You know, I have just completed a St Johns Ambulance day course for people looking after kids. It dawned on me to do one when a friend told me how her 2 year old choked on a grape. He went blue in the face and while her friend was fumbling with the cel phone to call somebody she knew what to do and whacked him in the right place and the grape went flying. I thought to myself that I would not know what to do in that situation. So, I spent $70 and my Sunday to get the necessary skills and the peace of mind that I would know what to do. Afterwards I gave my husband a run down of things I thought he needed to know and he read the first aid manual on the bus for a week. I was surprised to discover that he did not know the emergency number in Aus is 000!

ps. you could possibly put your phone number in your kids clothes, like when we were at school. Also, I have seen kids (at big festivals or crowded show grounds) with their parents cel numbers written on their fore arms with a marker.

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You should only be worried about car crashes and heart attacks. Do an advance driving course and buy the safest car you can afford. Yea, and the running part.

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When I travelled overseas , going through several airports with a 6, 4 and 2 year and me being the only adult, I pinned luggage lables onto them with all my contact details and details of friends at all the major airports that I landed in ! I was petrified of losing them at these airports.

I had my hands full with luggage and the kids !

At Thens airport, the 2 year old shot off in one direction and I had to leave the other two and the lugage as I sprinted after him !

Scary stuff !

Joanna

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We have a practical rule- always go back to the last place that you saw Mummy.

I always dress them in the same clothes, always pink or purple. I also have a card that I got from the Alaskan police (!!) department- on this card you attach a lock of their hair, finger prints, colour photo and relevant description detail.

Have your will, trust in place. Also your god parents named and funds for them. Make sure you have your will with a family solicitor and NOT a big insurance company!

What really works for me - trust God to do the rest.

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Here are a couple of things that I do,

-If we are going to a festival or a place that's going to have tons of people like a show etc, I write my mobile number on my son's arm in permanent marker. So he knows if he loses us, he needs to go to a stall or a police man and ask them to ring us.

-Make sure that you write up a will here in Australia and that you nominate temporary guardians for your children, here in Australia, that can look after your children until family members etc are able to get here from SA.

Candice

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Hi Juba,

Thanks so much for starting this post, I have never thought of half these things and this has been really usefull.

Joanna, the part about travelling alone with 3 kids has really given me a heads up as that is what i will be doing when I leave SA as my hubby is going ahead of us to secure a job, house etc before we all make the "BIG TREK" accross the globe, thankfully my kids are aged 12,9 & 3 but still this will be a huge adventure / trauma / experience for them and very overwhelming.

PLease guys keep the ideas and tips rolling they are VERY usefull. :)

THanks again

O

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I am actually really concerned about what wil happen to our child/ children if someting were to happen to hubby and me....

We have only been in Oz for six months and although we have met awesome people I dont think we know them long enough to ask if they will raise my kids?! So now the problem, my sister whom we want to be guardian is sitting in RSA with no plans of coming to Oz and that means if something were to happen my kids will be right back were we started! And it is for them that we got out of RSA!! What to do?

Would Oz give someone a visa if u stated in your will that a foreighner must look after your Australian children in Oz?

( pardon the spelling, its still early :-) )

T

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I am actually really concerned about what wil happen to our child/ children if someting were to happen to hubby and me....

We have only been in Oz for six months and although we have met awesome people I dont think we know them long enough to ask if they will raise my kids?! So now the problem, my sister whom we want to be guardian is sitting in RSA with no plans of coming to Oz and that means if something were to happen my kids will be right back were we started! And it is for them that we got out of RSA!! What to do?

Would Oz give someone a visa if u stated in your will that a foreighner must look after your Australian children in Oz?

( pardon the spelling, its still early :-) )

T

Hi everyone, thanks for the feedback, I think I will also open a seperate account now and put a few dollors in there every month so that if something happens and we/our frineds need money, there are funds available. I like everyone's ideas so far and it has helped us alot. Tsunabi, we are in the same boat as you but we have met some frineds here, not that we are such big friends that we would ask them to raise our kids but at least they can look after our children until our family can arrange something.... anyway, thanks for all the posts so far. I hope we can get a few more ideas on here as this is something I want to get into place as soon as possible

Juba

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I just wanted to add something w.r.t. an emergency plan.

I was delayed picking up my daugther from a friends house the other day, and by the time I got there, she was rather worried.....not because I was late, but becuase my husband and I were in the car together, we were on a long trip (which she knew) and she realised that if something had happened to the two of us, she did not know any family contact details. The school has my husband and I as contacts, and all my new friends here know that I have family in SA, but as they do not know my maiden name, they would have NO IDEA who to contact. My PC is password protected and I have no family on my facebook (I have only "boy family" and they are not into facebook). So how would anyone here contact my family in SA ?

It was a sobering moment, and I immediately emailed two friends here my brother and fathers details in SA. Hope they will never have to call.....but you have to have a plan......

Re guardianship of my daughter in case of an accident.....this is a difficult one. Whilst I would like her to go to family, I do not want her raised in SA......so we are "inbetween"........once we have stronger relationships here we will make a judgement call......a very difficult one indeed....

Nix

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I haven't read all the replies but as far as little children getting lost goes, we always had this rule:

Go back to the last place we saw each other and wait there. It should not be more than a couple of metres or something as simple as the previous isle in the supermarket. the last thing you want is for everyone to be running around like crazy searching for each other and keep on missing each other around a corner etc.

Secondly, when you go to an unfamilliar place, have the child's name and your mobile number written somewhere on the child (either on a specially made arm band - similiar to the ones you get in hospital, so the child can not get it off - or in permanent marker on their arm). Teach the child to show this to a person who is in his immediate area and who has an official reason to be there (such as the lady at the checkout etc) or to someone who has kids with them. Research shows that they're the most trustworthy.

You should have this talk with your son, because they should be streetwise in today's times of kids going missing and the other bad stuff. If you do it in a nice way, it should not upset them. Always tell them that you'll never leave them behind, so that in all that panic when they do get lost, they'll at least know that you're around there somewhere and won't leave without them.

Everyone knows about stranger danger and what to do (obviously this is something your kids need to know about as well) - one thing which is very important in an abduction situation is that your kid should never allow themselves to be taken to another location. Kick and scream, no matter how scared you are. Chances are almost 100% that the person will not want the attention on them and will take off without the kid. Thing is, children are shocked silent when something like this happens, and they fear for their life when being threatenedm, so they freeze up and keep quiet. They should know that they should put up a fight and make a noise. Once a kid is moved to another location, their chances of being found are considerably less. It sounds horrible but if they do get taken to another location - or in the attempt made to do that - they should gather dna evidence by scratching the offender, pulling their hair out etc. You kids need to know what to do in situations like that. Even in safe Australia, no kid is ever 100% safe and the reality is that they should know how to protect themself if they are ever in such a situation.

When we were little, we were 5 kids in the back of our station wagon, on a road trip to visit our grandparents. We stopped to fill up the car and the kids scattered to the loo. Once we reached the outskirts of the town, my mom handed packets of chips over the front seat to the kids in the back, calling every kid's name to hand their chips to them. When she called my little brother's name, there was no reply. Thing is, we left him at the gas station! How is it possible, you may ask. Well, with 5 kids allover the place in the back (some of us got into the very back to have a snooze), we did not realise that everyone was not in the car. We rushed back to the gas station, and there my brother was standing - between the pumps, waiting patiently. He could not believe we made such a fuss, as he thought the pumps were out of gas and my dad went to another one to fill up and would come back to get him. I'm sharing this story, firstly because it is so funny (we still talk about it today, and have a good laugh!) but also to show how easy it is for things like this to happen.

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Do NOT take your kids to Hong Kong or Thailand. My sister has a fairly high position in SAA, so she is aware of these things. The number of kids that get kidnapped in the East is frightening. They even have interviews with people that book trips there with young kids to warn them about the danger. They can disappear in an instant, they are seldom found again, and you do not even want to know what happens to them..

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