|Home Alone: Emergencies
Chances are that your time home alone will be safe and uneventful; however it never hurts to be prepared! The more you know how to prevent and handle emergencies, the less anxious you'll be.
To deal with anything that happens, make sure you:
- Carry your name and address with you.
- Have a parent or guardian's work number or cell phone number with you at all times.
- Work with a parent to create a list of helpful numbers and post the list in one or two places in your home. Consider keeping a copy in your bookbag.
Here are some strategies for preventing and handling different emergency situations:
- Ask permission before you go anywhere. Your parents can't protect you if they don't know where you are.
- Don't open the door to ANYONE, no matter how friendly or well-dressed they are.
- Set up a "family code word". If someone says they know your family, they'll need the code word to prove it! If they don't know the word, don't go anywhere with the person.
What do you do if...
- Your door is open when you come home? Don't go into the house! Leave the area and then call your parent/guardian right away or call the police.
- You hear an intruder in the house? Get out of the house if you can. If you can't get out, call 911 immediately, then hide in a closet or bathroom with the door locked until the police arrive.
- An intruder forces his or her way into your home when you enter? Get out of the house as fast as you can, at any cost.
Evacuating the House
- If your area is evacuated because of a natural disaster or violence, it's important to have a designated safe meeting place, especially because telephone and cellphone lines can stop working. Pick two places to meet:
- One right outside your home in case of a sudden emergency, like a fire.
- One outside of your neighborhood in case you can't return home or are asked to leave your neighborhood. Everyone in the family should know the address and phone number of the meeting locations.
- Ask an out-of-town relative or friend to be your family contact. After a disaster, it's often easier to make a long distance call than a local call. Family members should call the contact and tell him or her where they are. Everyone should know the contact's name, address, and phone number.
- Get familiar with other ways to get out of your home besides the front door.
- Plan how to take care of your pets.
Prank Phone Calls
- When your family records an outgoing answering machine message, don't use first names or any of the kids' voices. This is how a stranger can get the names of people in the family, then call later and pretend to be a friend.
- Screen incoming calls by checking caller ID or listening to an answering message before picking up.
- You're getting a repeat prank call? Press any button and say, "Operator, this is the caller that's causing trouble." The prank caller will think you're reporting him or her and should stop calling. When you get an opportunity, tell your parent or guardian right away.
- Hold regular fire drills and plan ways to get out of every room.
- Make sure your kitchen has a working fire extinguisher in an easy-to-find place (but not right above the stove). Know how to use it!
- You smell smoke or if the smoke alarm goes off? Leave the house immediately and call the fire department or 911 from a neighbor's house.
Accidents and Injuries
- Don't use any swimming pool without an adult present.
- Don't cook unless you know how to use appliances.
- Stay inside.
- Take a class for kids on how to handle emergency situations. The Red Cross offers a good one!
Every home should have a first aid kit. Do you know where yours is located? Some items you may want to have in your first-aid kit include:
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Cotton Balls
- Antibacterial ointment
- Tape and dressings
- Ice pack
- Calamine lotion for insect bites
- A small Tylenol dose
Before you stay home alone for the first time, you and a parent may want to do a special "first aid" shopping trip to make sure you're all stocked up! Also make sure you know the proper dosage of medicine (including Tylenol and Benadryl) for everyone in the household. If you don't know this, please consult your physician.
Again, most kids who are home alone never have to deal with any of these situations. It may feel scary to read about all these possible emergencies, but in the end, you'll feel much more confident about being home alone if you know you're prepared for anything.
Here's what to do if...
Are you still nervous? Don't be! Talk to your parent and ask him or her to run through some "what if" first-aid situations with you.
Copyright © 2005 CastleWorks, Inc. All rights reserved.