Helping 911 Help You CategoriesTo Your Health & Sanity

Helping 911 Help You

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you needed help, needed to share information and no one else was around?  Or what if you were there to help someone but couldn’t remember all of the information you needed?  What do you say when emergency responders start asking you questions to which they need answers but you don’t know or can’t remember. 

It’s for these and other reasons that every person should have what I call their EMERGENCY MEDICAL INFORMATION.  And maybe it’s not just yours you need but other family members as well.

In March 2004 my husband and I were dealing with our annual case of bronchitis.  He had gotten sick first but, this time, it was lasting longer.  I came down with it about 5 days later along with a fever that wouldn’t abate.  As if it was yesterday, I remember my husband coughing late one night, unable to stop and catch his breath.  Not able to do anything to help him I called 911.  When they arrived they immediately put the oxygen mask on him and then turned to me to start getting answers to their questions … what happened, how long, a short medical history, any medicines, etc. and etc.  By the time I had answered their questions about his current situation I was hard-pressed to talk any more as my own coughing started back up.  I could tell this was not what the EMT personnel were wanting to deal with so I quickly got our EMI sheet from my wallet.  It took a moment for the EMT gal to realize what I had handed her but once she did, she smiled and said: “I wish everyone had this!”

So what is an EMI?  It’s your Emergency Medical Information and it can literally be a life-saving tool when you, or someone else, can’t speak and share this critical information with medical personnel. 

Here is the information it needs to contain:

1. Emergency contact information
    a. Person’s name
    b. Relationship to you
    c. Phone numbers (office, cell, home)
2. Doctors
    a. Name
    b. Specialty
    c. Phone number
3. Medical conditions
4. Surgeries
    a. Date performed
5. Medicines (prescription and over-the-counter)
    a. Dosage
    b. Reason Taken
    c. When taken
6. Allergies to medicines
7. Pharmacy information
    a. Name
    b. Phone Number
8. Date of Birth
9. Date EMI last updated

Yes, for some people it will be bigger but so what?  There’s no special format it needs to take but I’ve found it easier to do using a table format in Word.  The key is to make sure it’s easy to read and in a logical format.  And don’t think you’ll be able to remember it … even your own … because I can promise you that won’t happen when you need it most.

Where else should you have this information?  In talking with Henrico fire personnel, I confirmed that most emergency responders, when coming into your home, will look on the refrigerator (front or side) for this type of information.  The information sheet on your refrigerator should have your emergency/family contact information along with doctors’ names and phone numbers.  They did say that if you’re uncomfortable having the medical information listed on this sheet, then you should direct them to look in your wallet/purse to find your emergency medical information sheet. 

Take the time now to put this together for you and your family.  It could be the best gift you ever give each other. 

emergengy information sheet - template



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Sue moved to Richmond in 1996; she has also lived in New York, Ohio, Missouri, North Carolina and Indiana. She worked in the banking, distribution, retail, manufacturing and mortgage industries, spending most of her career in the area of business software systems implementation, specializing in the areas of training and writing user documentation and procedures manuals. The creation of the first chart that she discusses in her blog came about as a result of realizing that both she and her husband had too much critical information to remember individually, much less for both of them. She created these charts for her husband, her parents and herself. Sue’s husband passed away in 2009 from cancer. About a year ago she became the proud parent of a four-legged son named Charlie who will celebrate his 7th birthday this month. Charlie is a rescue dog in training to be a therapy dog.

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