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Thank you Aunt Sofia for the Intertops casino bonus gift certificate.  The online games are awesome.  But it is now time to take a break from playtime and do our yearly Personal and Family safety checklist.  Yea, I know, playing is fun, but your family's safety is important.  You are important.  So let's get to work.

Mobile Phone Safety, emergency call screen

Take out your mobile phone.  Turn on the power.  Swipe to unlock, but don't unlock your phone.

On the bottom of your phone, you will see a button labeled "Emergency Call".  Click on that button.  Don't worry.  The days of "butt dialing the police are long gone".  Clicking on that button is not going to call the police, or the fire department, or an ambulance or any other number you are not going to want to accidentally dial.  So click on the button.

At the top of the screen you will see 4 icons with a plus (+) symbol.  When you click on one of those icons, it will first ask you to log in.  Then it will present you with your contact list.  You simply select a contact from your contact list, and it will be added as one of your "emergency numbers".

After a number has been added, it is now available to be used.  When an emergency contact icon is clicked, you will then see a prompt, "Make an emergency call?"  At this point, the call will go through without the phone needing to be unlocked.

Somewhere between 4 and 5 contacts can be added to your emergency contact list.  If you do not have a sim card, the only emergency number that will go through will be to the police/fire department/ambulance.  In order to use your emergency contact numbers, you still need a valid and active sim card in the phone.

On this emergency screen, there is also a button for "Emergency Info".  This is just a screen where you can custom edit the following information (added specifically for this screen).

  • Name: (The name on your phone is "Boo" -- your nickname, but in an emergency, you would want to put your real name.)
  • Medical Conditions:
  • Allergies:
  • Current medications:
  • Blood Type:
  • Other: (free text to add what you think would be of value)

Mobile phone emergency screens no longer have a specific button for "9-1-1".  You can still dial 9-1-1 without a sim card, but you still have to physically dial 9-1-1 (unless you add 9-1-1 as one of your emergency contact numbers).

In my opinion, male, female, child, adult, senior citizen ... it is always a good idea to add at least 2 emergency contact people to your emergency contact screen.

Mobile phone, emergency mode

Emergency mode is different than the emergency call screen.

Emergency mode conserves your device's remaining power when you are in an emergency situation. Battery power is saved by: Turning off Mobile data when the screen is off. Restricting usage to essential apps and those you select.

  • Turning off mobile data when the screen is off
  • Turning off connectivity features like wifi and bluetooth
  • Restricting usage to essential apps and those you select
  • Simplified home screen
  • Low LCD brightness
  • Limited CPU speed.

To turn on "Emergency phone", push the power button on your phone.  You will be presented with three options: power off, reboot, and emergency mode.

To turn off "Emergency mode", click on the verticle 3 dots on the home screen and select "Turn off emergency mode".

Emergency mode can:

  • Use a torch (flashlight)
  • Emergency alarm
  • Share my location (sends your location info to your emergency contact people, see the section above)
  • Phone and text messages
  • Internet (google maps)
  • One other app of your choosing

Some apps to choose from:

  • Whatsapp (my family has a family group, so 1 message is sent to everybody in our family)
  • Facebook (Facebook has an emergency mode with "Are you okay" and they coordinate with local emergency personnel to help people, not to mention blast telling friends/relatives that you are okay, so the phone lines do not get clogged)
  • Google maps (obviously helpful)
  • Calculator (most important app, when the internet app is an automatic calculator)?
  • Clock (not talking "the time is 1:45", but do you really need timers, alarms, countdown clocks in an emergency?)
  • Email (does anybody use email with Whatsapp?)
  • Memo (this makes sense, but then I would just use whatsapp to write a quick message -- send to myself or my family group)
If I was only allowed to pick one extra app to add in emergency mode, it would be "Whatsapp".  Although, come to think of it, in a real emergency, I cannot see not having access to:

  • Whatsapp (communicate with my personal family group)
  • Google Maps (where am I)
  • Google Translate (does the person who needs your help or you are asking for help speak your language)?
  • "Bus Nearby" (This is a local to-community app that you select any bus stop and it will tell you what buses go there and when they are coming, as well as directions)
As others have said, with the limit of adding just 1 app, I cannot see myself using this mode in any real emergency situation.  I would give up "alarm", "internet", and "Share my location" in exchange for "Whatsapp", "Google Maps", and "Google Translate" with my "extra app" being "Bus Nearby".

Home Safety

First, your emergency contact list on the fridge (or another place that is highly visible).  With "everybody" having cell phones with their contact list, we sometimes forget to put our emergency numbers on the fridge (including the house address).  If a guest is in your house and you get hurt, seconds can matter (or even just knowing who to contact).  You know your friend is married, but you have no idea what your friend's spouse's phone number is.
Smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors -- put them at least in the hallway by the bedroom, each level of the house, and any other place that can be considered "dangerous" (aka, kitchen).  For the kitchen, get one that has an easy turn-off button.  You burn dinner and the fire alarm goes off, but you do not want to take down the alarm to shut it off while the smoke clears.

Fire extinguishers -- There are different types of fires: paper and wood (combustible materials), flammable liquids, flammable gas, burning metals, electrical fires, and cooking oil and fats.  Different fires need to be put out in different ways, so make sure you read what type of fires the extinguisher can put out.  A fire extinguisher for an office will be different than a fire extinguisher for a kitchen.

Everyday emergency kit -- bandages, anti-biotic cream, pain killers, alcohol wipes, gloves, face masks, gauze, medical tape, scissors, tweezers, etc.

Non-everyday emergency kit -- emergency contact list, paper, pens, flashlights, neck light lanyards for every member of the family (great for blackouts), batteries (AAA, AA), backup battery cell phone charging, bleach, non-electrical stuff to keep kids entertained (and not scared).

Bug out kit -- When you need to evacuate your home.  Where are you going to go?  The heat went out in your house, but not city-wide.  Do you have a place to go?  What about if your city needs to be evacuated?  Do you have a place that is a day's drive (at most) to go to?  As for your bug-out kit, it should include everything that you have in your regular everyday emergency kit, and non-every day emergency kit, plus a change of clothes for everybody, toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, shampoo, hair brush, compass, paper map of the area (local and the local of where you will go to), traditional calculator, pens and paper for everybody, washcloths, toilet paper.

Food and water

Always have 3 days' worth of water and food in your house, no matter what.

In an emergency, have 2 weeks of food available.  Two weeks of perishables are hard to keep on hand, but definitely have non-perishable items including toilet paper, tissues, and cleaning supplies.

In an emergency, how long will it take for supplies to come from one side of the country to another side of the country?   In the past, it was 3 days.  But since COVID, that estimate can no longer be assumed.
But assuming in any emergency for 3 days, you a definitely "on your own".  You are going to have to be responsible for taking care of yourself and your family.  To be safe, prepare for a week, and if you can manage it, prepare for two weeks.  By that point, either help will arrive or you will have been able to make a plan for what to do next.

The best advice I can give is ... "Prepare for the worst and hope for the best."  For 90% of the "emergency situations" in life, that will get you through your immediate emergency.

Here is a more complete instruction for building an emergency kit written by the United States Government: Read Also:

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