In the Fall of 2011 my kids were returning to school and I was once again completing their paper emergency forms. One night, I was filling out their emergency contacts for what felt like the 70th time that week, and thought back to my friend Ayumi, whose children had sat on a bus for 12 hours after a 9.0 magnitude earthquake hit their home town in Japan. All of a sudden, hundreds of questions popped into my head about what the situation would be like for my children in an emergency. What would happen in the case of a flood or fire when these forms were destroyed or couldn’t be accessed? How do schools reach emergency contacts given each child could have three or four guardians that need to be called? Do my emergency contacts actually understand their role in an emergency, and do they have the right information to care for my children?
Needless to say, these questions were more than enough for me to look in to existing emergency preparedness processes in North America. What I found is that we are not prepared. Yes, my children’s emergency contacts know what school they attend, but they don’t know what medications they are allergic to or who our other emergency contacts are. Yes, schools have the right information they need to care for my child in an emergency, but they only have one copy of this information in my chicken scratch, with no regular updates. And yes, the school has several emergency contacts for each of my children, but these contacts could be the 788th call on the list in an emergency, and that’s if local phone lines are working. Thinking about my kids in any emergency situation where they are scared, unsure of what is going on, and just wanting the comforts of home with their family, this was not nearly good enough.
So, I decided to do something about it! My background is in strategic web planning, and off the top of my head, I could list a dozen ways in which the internet could be leveraged to overcome these gaps and support my kids. I identified how I would want my children to be taken care of in an emergency, and built a system to do just that… cue the birth of ePACT! With ePACT, I’m now confident that my family has the system we need to stay safe in any emergency. In a case where I can’t reach my children, I know that the organizations they belong to have what they need to contact my support network but also provide the best care they can with accurate emergency info. I know that my children’s emergency contacts know exactly what to do in a crisis, and that they are equipped with the information they need. Furthermore, I know that by building a support network for my family, I’m reaching out to my other relatives and friends who I care about, and improving their level of preparedness by encouraging them to use ePACT. It’s so rewarding to know that through this viral growth I can help improve the level of safety for those I care about, as well as within my local community and for many communities beyond my own.
My kids were the ultimate motivator to build ePACT. I quickly realized that improvements could be made as to how my children would be taken care of in an unexpected situation, and was going to do everything in my power to make these changes happen. The development and growth of ePACT hasn’t been easy, but whenever I’m having a bad day, I think back to how ePACT can positively impact my children for the rest of their lives. It goes without saying, this motivation is what keeps me going.
Thanks for reading!
ePACT is the single emergency record and support network for families, and the emergency preparedness and response standard for organizations. By leveraging the power of online networking, ePACT brings organizations and families together to share critical information, plan collectively and communicate before, during and after any emergency. Sign up today to better connect and protect your family and organization through any crisis!
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