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Old 11.02.2011, 13:48
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Emergency network

On a French Forum I used to belong to - 2 of the moderators had the idea of an emergency network. They asked people with special skills (nurses, doctors, etc), languages, or just a bit of time on their hands- to send details by pm to one of the two mods, which would remain totally confidential. They then sorted those into general geographical areas and areas of expertise- just in case. So if there was an emergency in family, and experienced 'grand-parents/sitters were required, the best person would be contacted. It could be just making a phone call to a hospital where the EFer has been taken after illness or accident, to ascertain the situation, and discuss possibilities and relate back to the patient or family. Same if kids or animals had to be looked after in a dire emergency in somebody's home, or if somebody needed someone to visit in hospital to liaise with staff, etc. This system would have to be respected as real emergencies only of course. I would be very happy to help, but not to drive 50+ kms to find that a family had not bothered to find a babysitter for a week-end in Paris. What do you all think? Makes any sense? and how could it be managed?

Last edited by Odile; 11.02.2011 at 14:19.
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Old 11.02.2011, 14:17
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Re: Emergency network

Seems like an excellent idea! I'd be more than happy to sign up for certain things (translation, making phone calls, that sort of thing).

It might also be useful to add whether the EFer offering his/her services has a car.
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Old 11.02.2011, 14:20
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Re: Emergency network

Great - but of course people should not use this for day-to-day translating services- emergencies only.
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Old 11.02.2011, 14:34
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Re: Emergency network

Thats what I mean.

A while back there was a young couple who needed a translator for pre-marital formalities in Baden and they'd only found out about it the day before their appointment. If they couldn't find a translator quickly, then the whole thing would have had to be postponed etc. etc. etc. That's the kind of emergency I was thinking of.
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Old 11.02.2011, 19:04
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Re: Emergency network

Lovely idea Odile. I wouldn't mind helping out.
What do you have in mind ?
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Old 11.02.2011, 20:00
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Re: Emergency network

... and how do you filter "emergencies" from "not-quite-so-emergencies-but-so-urgent-for-them" situations?
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Old 11.02.2011, 20:12
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Re: Emergency network

Thanks Sky - the broad lines are in the first thread.
Yes, as in all network/support clubs, there might be one or two who might try to take advantage- but I think it still be worth it. (and they wouldn't be able to do it more than once!). I was just thinking about Nil's situation- and remembering the times I was stuck in an attic flat in Putney, unable to go up or down the stairs (after car accident) with OH working very very long hours, and no friends or family nearby, or when I went home on day 4 with my baby after an emergency Ceasar- and had to cope on my own, and later when I had to move when 8 1/2 months pregnant, a toodler and threatening pre-eclampsia. My daughters are in UK and so are my grand-children- and would be happy to help.

Perhaps we could start with just a 'Romandie' help line initially (choosing Romandie because this is where I am and where I have some knowledge and experience). I'll be away skiing with said daughters and grand-children for a week (HURRAY so happy) so please excuse me if I don't reply until I'm back.
Sky if you are in Romandie, maybe we could work tog. on this one.
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Old 11.02.2011, 20:16
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Re: Emergency network

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... and how do you filter "emergencies" from "not-quite-so-emergencies-but-so-urgent-for-them" situations?

Common sense I suppose.

We have an unexpected party on Saturday, and are looking for a last minute sitter. = NO (unless I or somebody else is nearby and has nothing better to do and volunteers)

I've gone into premature labour, and I'd like my OH to be with me- so need somebody to look after our toddler for 24hrs = YES.

Hopefully this would be managed by 2 or 3 of us, and cases disscussed before a decision made.
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Old 12.02.2011, 08:58
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Re: Emergency network

Hi Odile,

It all depends on the kind of help you want to offer. EF does remain a public forum, and though everyone is very kind and friendly, it is the internet and not a small village where everybody knows everybody else.

In regards to help, I was thinking more in terms of:
- helping people with language difficulties in a tough situation.
You need a doctor and can't communicate.. is anybody free to help
- somebody is stuck without a car and needs to get to a hospital

Functional points where you can efficiently help, without getting involved with personal life.

Yup, I'd like to help out, but I don't have the availability to organize.
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Old 12.02.2011, 10:58
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Re: Emergency network

The sort of things which Sky mentions happen on here already. However, unless one is on-line when it happens, one never knows about it.

Who would be permitted to use this service? The moment words are used like 'help, emergency, assistance' our friend Google will probably bring even more folk in to misuse the members' willingness to help. Or how else do these first post - 'pleese help me, dretful situasion, dont no wot to do' new members find us, when they don't seem able to find the many organisations with professional helpers, email addresses and telephone numbers.

Where do you want this Thread to be? How do you make it 'Bold' for those genuinely in need and yet not too obvious as an easy way to get free assistance.
Many users don't look at the sub-titles to the Forums, let alone search. It is unbelievable the number of merges the Mods do - new Threads on subjects covered half a dozen times already (I don't mean comparatively complex things like the various permits, but things like 'climbing in Basel' or 'baking powder'). So how will they find the Thread when they are in a panic?

We've had quite a few (Newbie) posts over the three years I've been on here, saying how much they know about Switzerland, how they will be able to answer any questions and that they want to help. Few of them realise that this means being around when the help is needed - and that can be anytime, 24/7. Most of them (after being thanked for their offer) disappear. Some of them immediately, some of them after a few weeks. So we need regular posters offering their services, not just 'helper-syndrome' specialists.

This isn't supposed to be a damper - just a couple of points to think about. Keep throwing ideas in and maybe something can be set up.
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Old 12.02.2011, 13:32
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Re: Emergency network

Longbyt is right. Although I support the idea, I see the problem of the offer boosting the demand.

We had that effect about ten years ago with the dental emergency service in the Canton St. Gallen. I was the one who, in the seventies, launched a regional 24/7 emergency service for dental problems, first of its kind in the canton and in the entire northeastern part of the country. Before that, weekend emergency service had existed, but that was that.

The system worked as follows: Someone with an acute dental problem, whose dentist couldn't be reached, could call the medical emergency number, 144, where they got the phone number of the dentist on duty during that week incl. weekend. At night, we had the answering machine, which told the caller the private number to call. Result: About one call at night every other duty week, most of them real emergencies, not just the "my gums are sore after eating too many almonds" or "I think one of my old fillings got cracket" kind of stuff.

About ten years ago, the system was changed by the cantonal gubmint. Now the guys at 144 directly put the callers through to the emergency dentist. Result, immediately after the change and ever since: Several calls practically every night, most of them totally irrevelant, I mean, of course, some annoyance to the caller but not worth calling our assistant who lives 25 km away, running to the practice, cranking up the whole equipment at midnight etc..

The new system hasn't improved the degree of dental service for the people, but it has multiplied the stress and expenses for the personnel involved. It's available, so it's being used. And abused.
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Old 12.02.2011, 16:35
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Re: Emergency network

Very good only if it could.On the other hand the knowledge on this web is already help enough for how the life in Switzerland looks like,and what is where if one need it.
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