June 13, 2012 at 5:44 pm
by Christina Tynan-Wood
I was in a phone meeting last week that scared me.
“Every year 1 million people are admitted unconscious to hospitals,” Michael Soenen, founder and CEO of EmergencyLink told me. “The first responders need medical information in order to provide treatment and contact information to locate family.” Those first responders are trained to look through phones and wallets for that crucial information. But, according to a recent survey done by EmergencyLink, 89% of people have no emergency contact information in their wallet, phone, or anywhere. In fact, it found, one in four parents have no emergency plan in place at all.
I expressed horror at these figures. But I was wracking my brain trying to think if I had any sort of emergency plan in place or what emergency care people would find in my purse or car.
“I’m sure you have an ICE (in case of emergency) contact in your phone,”” Soenen said.
I whipped out my phone to look. Did I?
“Right?” he was waiting for an answer.
“Um…Sure, I do,” I answered as I quickly added one. (Oops.)
“But what if one of your kids goes missing?” He continued. “How long will it take you to put together everything law enforcement needs?”
I had no idea. I cast my mind around my house trying to place recent photos and other particulars, calculating how long it would take me to gather it all. But this time, it turned out, Soenen already knew the answer.
In advance of this phone call, he had asked me to sign up at his newly launched service EmergencyLink.com. I had already received a batch of key fobs and stickers with my account information plastered on them. All I had to do now was attach them to my kids’ backpacks, wallet or keys. Or, since they don’t always carry those, get them to download the EmergencyLink app to their phones. If something awful happens, they will be wearing a clearly marked toll-free number and my account number. A first responder has only to call that number to get instant access to everything necessary to provide medical attention and reach family.
And the answer to Soenen’s question, still hanging in the air? It would take less than five minutes to provide law enforcement with everything they needed if one of my kids went missing. (The first hour is the most important so this came as a big relief.) EmergencyLink would handle it.
After I got off the phone, I stuck those key fobs and stickers to everything I could think of: wallets, keychains, kids, the dogs, my mother, the fridge, my car, and my husband. In fact, I want more of them — though I got a credit-card sized card, two key tag, and several stickers and I can print reports or temporary cards from the site. And I’ve been slowly adding more information to the site as I have time: Insurance information, immunizations, and end-of-life directives.
So, thanks to Michael Soenen and EmergencyLink.com, I have an excellent emergency plan in place. How about you? The service launched yesterday and is free until they decide to charge. So get on it!