Sunday, 16 November 2008

In case of emergency...

Having a child has brought about many moments of reflection on my own past. Countless times I have seen Abner achieve a new milestone and wondered when I accomplished that same goal. I've also been thinking of all the fun things I used to do as a kid that I hope Abner will also enjoy like racing leaves down the gutter on a rainy day, taking a crazy carpet down the steepest hill in the neighbourhood, building forts (snow or otherwise), tossing a ball/Frisbee around with my big brother, having sleepovers with friends, and so on.

Having a child has also brought about many thoughts of the future and what I can do to ensure we have a nice long one together. With that in mind, I completed a first aid class, assembled my family's emergency preparedness kit (we do live in the land of earthquakes after all) and started my will (gulp) this week.

The first aid class was very helpful (even if the instructor was an absolute fruitloop!) and corrected a lot of vague ideas I had floating around in my head from the last time I took a first aid class (circa 1991). Much has changed in the world of first aid since then. Did you know you need to ask permission from the victim or parent before beginning any first aid treatment? Some of the lessons just weren't practical for everyday use as a parent (who the hell carries around gloves, a breathing mask and barrier plastic?! You'd need a suitcase, not a diaper bag, to carry all the gear they suggest.)

We did cover the major event I have been worrying about though - choking. Obviously I didn't want Abner to choke before I knew the appropriate first aid treatment, but now that I know, I really hope she doesn't choke! The thought of pounding on my daughter's back and administering chest compressions to a depth of 1/3 to 1/2 of her body depth does not sit well with me.

I also spent part of last weekend getting a start on our emergency preparedness kit. My parents are using emergency preparedness as their theme for Christmas gifts this year, so I only assembled the items I already had kicking around the house and emergency food at this point. I opted to use three shelves in our storage locker because it's an interior room in our apartment, there are no windows, there's plenty of space in there, and the shelves are built in and consequently won't topple over in an earthquake.

The bottom shelf now holds the emergency water - a flat of bottled water (in 500 ml bottles which are easy to carry if necessary) and jugs of tap water for cooking and cleaning. The middle shelf houses the emergency food - raisins, cereal bars, crackers, juice, dried fruit, canned beans and fruit, nuts, trail mix, etc. We'll be sick of those items after a few days, but it's better than nothing. The plan is to restock the shelves each November and take any food that hasn't expired to the food bank. The top shelf has the emergency supplies like crank radio/flashlights (they even have a USB port so we can use the same crank to power our iPod!), lighters, candles, garbage bags, can opener, diapers and wipes, and toilet paper (of course! It's a whole different kind of emergency if you don't have any toilet paper.)

This week I also got started on a will. I've been thinking of doing a will for a long time and was surprised at how easy it was to get started. My aunt is a lawyer (every family should have one) who specializes in estate law (or something like that) so she is well acquainted with the requirements for a will and will be the one actually writing it for us. I'm sure there's more to it, but the main elements to consider are:
  • Executor: They are responsible for ensuring your wishes are carried out as outlined in your will. It can be a pretty big job so choose wisely!
  • Beneficiaries: Who do you want to leave your stuff to? Generally, you'd leave it to your spouse, or failing that, your children. However, you also need to consider what will happen if, God forbid, you all go out at the same time.
  • Trustee: This person is responsible for managing your assets until your child is old enough to inherit.
  • Guardians: Who do you want raising your kids in your absence? Talk about a big decision!

Anyhow, this post is getting quite depressing so I'm going to end it now. My post that is.

1 comment:

  1. Kim, The emergency preparedness kit is a great idea and I like the idea of changing your emergency supplies each November.

    It is amazing what you think about when you have a child and also when you have a grandchild.


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