Monday, December 22, 2008

Are you ready for an emergency?

For the past couple of weeks we have been cruising on the Caribbean and have been surprised at the number of medical emergencies that have occurred. Last week a poor lady fell in San Juan, Puerto Rico while taking pictures and dislocated her elbow. The ship’s infirmary relocated it (is that how you say that?) and the next day when we were in St. Thomas all day she went to the hospital for them to check it out. Then on Saturday as we waited for the ship to leave the port, the captain announced that we were delayed because of an emergency. We watched a poor lady taken off the ship on a stretcher and put into an ambulance. It looked like her leg was all bandaged up. Yesterday while we were on the beach at Half Moon Cay, we saw the Eurodam stop and then a helicopter arrived on the island. Apparently someone on that ship had a medical emergency too.

These events made my husband and I think about our lives and what we would do in an emergency. I like to be prepared as much as possible. Just like we have fire drills in school, each ship has a life boat drill before we can leave the port. Whenever we are in a port, my husband and I arrange for a spot where we will meet in case we are separated. I hope that I will never need to do this, but I’m ready in case it happens.

When I give a presentation, I try to play the “What if…” game and prepare for technology not to work or leaving my notes at home, just in case. I don’t want this to happen but if it does, at least I won’t panic. The same went for my lessons. What if I get observed or if the whole class doesn’t understand the concept? What if I don’t have enough worksheets? What if a student causes a disruption? What if the light fixture drops out of the ceiling (this really did happen in one of my classes)?

I have done things where I did not have an emergency back up plan and wished I did but at least now from my previous experiences, I can be better prepared. I have planned a wonderful field trip where I took my class hiking in the mountains. The night before my paraprofessional had a car wreck and I had to decide what to do next. Luckily I found a sub who was willing to go hiking with us or we would have had to cancel the trip. We also took the students to an amusement park and we “lost” a student because he failed to show up at the assigned time. It is events like this that make me realize that I need to be prepared for the “what ifs”.

What kinds of things do you do to prepare for an emergency?

Original image: 'Iberia' César González Palomo


Anonymous said...

You are absolutely right - one has to plan for an emergency. When the unexpected happens, we are often so surprized, shocked or shaken that we don't act rationally. It is so much better to plan beforehand what you will do. Of course, not all disasters can be foreseen (some can not even be contemplated), but where possible, it is the course of wisdom to plan.

I try to have a belt-and-braces approach (take notes along when I have to give a lecture, in case the technology fails; when I fly I put one flash drive in my booked lugguage and keep one in my hand lugguage - just in case one of them goes astray).

Is is not amazing how often folks do not even ask the most basic 'what if' question - 'What if my hard drive crashes?'. When that happens, and they have only depended on the belt (no braces - aka no backup) they are shamefully caught with their pants down.

Anonymous said...

It sounds simple, but it's always worked for me: expect something unexpected to happen. I assume the bus will be late, so when it is, I don't stress, and when it isn't, all the better. In real emergencies, however, it's difficult to predict how you will react, but if your mental state is calm, you are prone to remaining calm during an emergency and being able to think rationally about the best plan of action.

A student that I tutor treats every exam like an emergency even though they are always planned. My response to her is always, "'re stressing out, and that will affect how you receive the information you need to pass the test."

Easier said than done with a 12 year old, but it still works!

loonyhiker said...

Kobus: Thanks so much for the idea about the flash drives. I never thought about that but it makes sense. You have such great ideas!