5 Important Things To Know
by Coco Diong
March 9, 2018
There are millions of singles in this country who live alone, and many have no close ties to their neighbors or their families. Studies show that out of those with close friendship ties, only 25% of their friends know who to reach in case of emergency.
This point came home to me not long ago. My friend Ella and I were crossing a busy street one day, when she was struck by a car. As I rode in the ambulance with her (she was unconscious), I panicked as it occurred to me that I didn’t know how to reach anyone in Ella’s family. I knew her mom and sister lived in another state, but I didn’t know their last names, because Ella (though divorced) still used her married name.
Ella and I were the best of friends, but on the day of her accident, I realized that I really didn’t know much about her. For one week, she remained unconscious with a brain concussion, and I didn’t know who to notify.
A week after she’d been hospitalized, her brother showed up at her apartment, and a neighbor told him that Ella was in the hospital. It turned out that her mother had been trying to reach her, and had sent her brother down to investigate. When Ella woke up ten days later, her entire family was at her bedside. However, the experience gave me a new perspective on the depth of my relationships and my own set of circumstances. As it happened, Ella was in close contact with her mother. They talked on the phone at least three times a week. Therefore, when her mother couldn’t reach her, she became worried.
In my own situation, I realized that I didn’t know any of my neighbor’s phone numbers, and none of my friends knew how to reach my family in case of emergency. (I do well if I talk to my family once a month.) I also realized that it is important to establish patterns with people, so that if something happens and you need help, your pattern of behavior will alert people that something is wrong.
Cases In Point: Some years ago when a co-worker who lived alone was attacked and left for dead by an ex-boyfriend. She lived in a one-story home, and he had cut the screen out of a bedroom window and entered her home undetected. She lay unconscious and bleeding on the floor all night from several stab wounds, and would have bled to death if her boss hadn’t become alarmed when she didn’t show up for work or answer her phone. Her pattern was punctuality and reliability. Her boss called the police when he arrived at her home and saw her car parked in the driveway.
Two years ago, a friend’s brother was in the morgue for over two weeks because he didn’t have any ID or close of kin contact on him when he dropped dead while jogging, and because he wasn’t close to his family, no one knew he was missing. Therefore, it is vitally important that:
- Someone you trust has a key to your home.
- You give the phone numbers of your family to close friends.
- You establish a pattern of regular communication with a friend or family member, so that a red flag will go up if no one hears from you.
- Know the phone number of at least one neighbor, and give them yours.
- You carry identification on you at all times with an In Case Of Emergency number.
A few years ago in the building where I live, it was discovered that my neighbor who lived across the hall, had been dead over a week in his apartment. The police had been called because of the odor, but none of the man’s family had missed him, because he was a loner. Don’t be a loner. Share your important information with someone. You never know when they might need it to help you in an emergency.