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Old 09.10.2021, 13:26
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Re: Family Safety Plan ?

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So, with the idea of being prepared, especially for families with kids, what would you do?
From technology point of view, phone calls and SMS.

When that fails, assuming it is just temporary and not WW3, it's good to have shared an approximate plan. Something simple like "after school I go at Sky's and then we have a walk, I should be home by dinner". Or "I have a beer with Sky after work, but it might turn into proper dinner, so don't wait for me".
This way you always know what time to start worrying, and who to call for doubts, and at the same time the "monitored person" does not have anxiety to send regular updates every 30'.
My strategy is to text only when the approximate plan changes significantly, or when a certain synchronization is needed (e.g. "I'm boarding the train now, arrive in 20', turn on the oven"). Otherwise we rely on trust and absence of emergencies.

If it's a bigger emergency (fire, flood, car accident) the best instruction is probably to just follow the local instructions by authorities. At ETH there are signs on what to do in case of shooting: don't move, stay silent, don't use cell phones and wait for police instructions. In this event a person trying to call home or reaching a predermined meeting point might incur in additional danger.
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  #22  
Old 09.10.2021, 18:27
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Re: Family Safety Plan ?

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Telephone? Or email. Alternatively Signal or Threema.

Aren't they also somewhat reliant on the internet ?
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Old 09.10.2021, 18:55
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Re: Family Safety Plan ?

Thanks, venetian, that's excellent advice.

For everyone in the family, in general
  • Go where you say you're going, with whom you're going, do what you said you're going to do, and be back when you said you would, by the means of transport you said you'd use.
  • Be able to recite (and once able to read, also spell) your own full name, birth date and address, and at least the full names of the other family members. Older family members should also know the names of the schools, universities and places of employment of the others, and what they do there.
  • If anyone in the family has a serious medical condition which could require timeous intervention, then each family member should be able to properly pronounce the name of that condition. This has saved lives.*

When getting home as agreed is not possible, call to let the others know.
If no phone (or similar) electronic communication possible (all systems down), then follow the learnt practice, for example:

For children under 5 or 6 or 7
  • If you can't see me, then I probably also can't see you. So don't walk further away from me than it needs for us to see each other.
  • If, for whatever reason, we do get separated, then wait where you are. I will look for you. Don't walk around looking for me.
  • If anyone approaches you to help you, tell them you have to wait there. If they want to help, they can look for me. Don't go with them.
    Exception: if the building is burning, or falling down, or filling up with water or smoke. In that case, try to get outside, and then wait somewhere near the police car or the fire engine.

For children from about 6 or 7 to about 11, 12 or 13 (depending on their personal development)
  • If we get separated, wait at the main door of the shop/building/hall, etc.
  • If there are lots of entrances, look up to see if there is a big clock and wait under that.
  • If it's a large area, like a concert or a huge show, then go to the "Lost Persons" or "Lost Property" office, or to the ticket desk.
    Exception: if the building is burning, or falling down, or filling up with water or smoke. In that case, try to get outside, and then wait somewhere near the police car or the fire engine.

Make rules about when it is okay for each person to give up trying to find the others, and to leave the place, and walk to somewhere (or take public transport, if it is working).
  • These could be, for example: after 20 minutes, or if there is a fire, or if it's getting too cold.
  • Define several meeting points, besides "home", of course. Be sure that each child - and also each adult! - knows how to get there. Include, for example: if something goes wrong at the shopping centre, it is closer to walk to Daniel's house than it is to walk home.
  • If all the electricity and all electronic communication stops, and if you can't get home or to one of our safe meeting points, then walk to the nearest school, or the nearest church. Wait there, because someone is likely to start organising help, from there.

Listen when the others tell you where they're going.
That way, you can work out whether they're probably okay where they are.
In London, when a bomb went off, many people immediately started calling, trying to find their relatives, and that clogged up the system. In a family I knew, not one of the children and adults even tried to call any of the others. They didn't need to, because they all knew where the other family members had gone, and thereby that none of them was anywhere near the bomb-site.


* This was well illustrated in the case of a 3-year old who had called the emergency line. His father had previously taught him that the operator would probably start by asking him name, and how old he was, and who was with him, etc., but that he should not waste time with all that, and not let himself get distracted by the questions, but should recite his memorised text: "Stop! Don't ask me questions. I know what I have to say. My mother has .... (latin name of diagnosis). She is on the floor. She takes ... (name of medication). Please come now! Our address is: ...," and that had, then, actually saved his mother.
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