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 March 12

by Karen Purze

Last week, even before the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus a global pandemic, Chicago Public Schools (CPS) leaders were giving updates to the community on their plans to address COVID-19 in our school community. One thing that struck me was the urgency with which they communicated this message: “It’s critically important that your school can contact you to provide updates and information.”

When a teacher’s aide at one of the CPS high schools was diagnosed with COVID-19, we got one of the 2 million automated calls sent by the administration. Looking at the comments on the district’s Facebook page, it’s clear not everyone got the message. 

So this week, our five-minute fix is to verify our emergency contact information. Don’t take it for granted that your kids’ school or your employer or even the building you live in has the most current information on how to contact you in case of emergency.

Five Minute Fix

5-minute Fix: Update your emergency contact information.

And don't forget about your parents if they're dependent on you for support of any kind. Who might need to call you on their behalf if they needed to be quarantined (or some other emergency were to occur?) 

I saw earlier this week what happens when we don’t keep emergency contacts up to date. On Wednesday, the nursing home where my mother lives decided no visitors would be allowed to enter the facility, effective immediately. The staff was busy making phone calls to let people know about the new policy. As I walked by the nurses’ station, I overheard someone say to her colleague “The only number I have is for the patient. What should I do?”

Well, there's not much to be done if they don't have a number (or the right number.) 

Don’t miss the message. 

Spend five minutes to check and update your emergency contacts today!

Take care,

Karen Purze
Extra Credit: Sign up for community alerts 

Sign up for community alerts for your city or county. Some agencies use an app or have a Twitter account (or both) to let the public know about weather, civil emergency, or public heath issues. If you don’t know which local agency handles emergencies, search the internet for “emergency management + {your city name}”. 

Or, better yet, download the free FEMA App, which gives real-time weather and public safety alerts as well as a host of other useful features. For example, you can use it to find a pet-friendly shelter in case of an evacuation or apply for FEMA assistance in case of a natural disaster. 


See more 5-minute fixes below! If you’d like to stay in touch, subscribe to my mailing list or join the conversation on FacebookInstagramTwitter or LinkedIn.

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