Emergency Information

Having a central location for emergency information is important for household members, baby sitters or grandparents watching children, and those who check on your home and pets during an absence. Although many people keep a list of emergency phone numbers, there is other crucial information that could help in an emergency.

It is useful to keep the emergency information safe by laminating it, enclosing it in a zippered pouch, or otherwise making sure that it won’t fade or blur. Keeping a flashlight beside it is also useful.

Phone Numbers
A basic phone number list should include:
  • Priority Emergency Numbers:
    • 911
      In some places, this number covers police, fire, and ambulance: if you have separate numbers for any of these services, list them as well. Along with these numbers, list the home address (the physical address) and clear instructions for reaching the household, should emergency workers need directions.
    • Poison Control 1-800-222-1222
      In the case of a poisoning, the US Poison Control will want to know the name of the product, but also the victim’s age, gender, and weight. Keeping birthdate and weight information in your emergency list could save precious time. A network of international poison control centers can be found online at the American Association of Poison Control Centers.
    • Police, Fire, and Ambulance (if other than 911)
    • Utility Companies: Gas, Electric, etc. Use these in case of a power outage or a gas leak.

  • Family Members' Contact Numbers: Land line, cell phone number, and e-mail and/or IM address for each household member (as appropriate). Adults who go to work should list work contact information; children who are in school, in daycare, or away at college should also be listed. For children in college, the campus security number is another good piece of information to have: it is usually this office that can locate a student when necessary.
  • Addresses of household members’ usual location, whether work, school, or elsewhere. If other means of communication fail, this will help in locating people.
  • Primary care physician or pediatrician contact information for each family member, including any specialists consulted, such as cardiologists, dermatologists, and any therapists. Also include each person’s dentist and any eyecare professionals. This is also a good place to list each person’s blood type and any allergies they may have (including food, latex, animals, etc.) It is also good to note those who wear contacts and a list of prescription medications and herbal remedies that household members use.
  • Pharmacy location and phone number (try to include a number that goes directly to a pharmacist, rather than to the main desk of the drugstore, for example).
  • Any Crisis Center that a household member has used or you have reason to believe may be useful, for example, a Suicide Hotline.
  • Veterinarian and any other emergency numbers and any important information (for example, medications) for household pets.
  • Contact Information for Other Building Occupants if you live in a multi-household dwelling. In case of a leak or other inter-dwelling issue, this can be important.
  • Contact Information for Close Neighbors
  • Contact Information for anyone whom you’d like to make decisions for you if you are not available.
Vital Locations
The location of items that may be needed in an emergency should be listed:
  • First Aid Kit
  • Car Keys
  • All household telephones
  • Permission to Treat Form, which is a form that gives parent/guardian permission for an adult caring for a child of the household to seek medical treatment, should need arise.
  • Identification
  • Insurance and Health care cards
When You’re Out of Town

On any occasion when you’re out of town, the emergency information should be updated to include your itinerary and contact information. If there are children of the household being cared for away from home, a copy of the emergency information (or the pertinent portion) should be with the children.

Written by Mary Elizabeth

Related Home Institute Articles

  • Babysitter Instructions I
  • Organizing a Car Trunk
  • Carbon Monoxide Testing
  • Introduction to Fire Extinguishers
  • Quick Guide to Home Safety Tools
  • Babysitter Instructions II
  • First Aid Kit
  • Stair Safety
  • Safety Gate Buying Guide
  • Introduction to Disaster Supplies
  • Introduction to Poison Control
  • Introduction to Poisonous Plants