Kathryn did an amazing job in her post: Preparing for Deployment. What I would like to do in this post is to further expound upon one small aspect that can definitely relate to (although is not exclusively related to) deployment preparation: Compiling an “In Case of Emergency” form.
I did not do this until my husband deployed to Afghanistan, the second time. I had a four month old baby. And while I definitely had fears for my husband’s safety, the most disturbing fearful image that kept being replayed in my overactive imagination was of my son…awake and crying but unharmed, in the backseat of my car at the scene of an accident, while I laid in the front unconscious and in need of medical attention. It absolutely terrified me! Until I attended an Operation Faithful Support session that discussed how to deal with fears during deployment. One of the suggestions was to do what you can to minimize those fears. I went home that evening and sat down on my computer to type out an ICE sheet. From then on, my fears were allayed.
Sometimes, the answer to a “What if?” question is to simply be more realistic in the asking. Okay, so what if that actually happened? What if I have to be rushed to the hospital for surgery? What if I am in a coma? What would the police and EMTs do? Would they just default and send my child to social services/CPS? What would they look for? What information would they need in order to make sure that I and my child are cared for and safe? And what can I do to make it easy on them so they don’t have to go scrambling for information?
I promise that if you do something like this, it will greatly put your mind at ease. And this is not exclusively for military families. I believe that every family should have a form like this that is updated once or twice a year that they keep on hand (in addition to things like insurance forms, wills, and POAs) in case of an emergency:
What to include:
The names, birth-dates, social security numbers, blood types, food/medical allergies, and any preexisting medical conditions for all of your immediate family members.
Your home address, phone numbers, and cell-phone numbers.
Your next of kin (I included both my husband’s parents and my parents), their addresses and phone numbers (home and cell-phone).
Your medical insurance information.
Name and contact information of your primary care physicians and your local hospital or post clinic.
Business or unit information (Staff Duty phone numbers, Rear Detachment contact numbers, and unit designations. If your husband is deployed, list rear detachment and Red Cross emergency contact information).
A detailed plan-of-action for what you would like emergency personnel to do in case of your absence. For example, mine read this way:
In the event that we (our names) are incapacitated, please follow the following steps:
Arrange for immediate/short-term childcare by calling [insert name and contact information for a local emergency contact]. If you cannot reach her, please call [insert name and contact information for another local emergency contact]. I further went on to put the information for the local on-post Army child care information.
Notify NOK (next of kin). Once they arrive, please place [children] in their direct care. (List which NOK you would prefer to care for your children to be with in the event of an emergency).
Notify my landlords [list their names and phone numbers] to notify them and get access to the house.
Notify husband’s chain of command (or other place of employment).
More personal information about your family and especially your children, for anyone who may end up caring for them.
Infants: How often they are being fed. Formula…How much? How often? What brand? Breastfeeding…How often? Is there stored milk anywhere?
Older babies: What solid foods can they eat? What do they prefer? Any juice?
Children: Their likes and dislikes as far as food, and any food allergies
Scheduling and sleeping (when do they nap? What is a normal bedtime?)
Where things are located in your home (diapers, wipes, toys, and medicines)
Any medications your children are taking, and their dosages
Print several copies of this form and put in key places in your house and car. I actually keep two forms in the car, one in the glove compartment and one in the trunk (…you know, in case half of the car gets engulfed in flames, of course!) I have one hanging on the refrigerator and one in the hallway closet.
This may seem slightly obsessive, and it may be. But at the very least, it might help allay some of your fears, especially if you are going through a deployment. Above all, our trust needs to be in God. He is greater and more powerful than any emergency forms, and I know that he will take care of my family and your families regardless. But it probably wouldn’t hurt to have something like this on hand…just in case!
Aprille is a 25-year-old stay-at-home wife and mom. Her husband is finishing up his last year in the Army at Fort Knox. She blogs about finding beauty in life, marriage, motherhood, and military life at beautifulinhistime.com.