Emergency Network 2
Links In A New Country
Before you create an Emergency Network, be well prepared for any problem that may occur. Chat with the concierge and inquire about all emergency numbers, the hotel doctor, a dentist, a very good hospital, the ambulance and as many taxi telephone numbers as you can get.
Collect a few name cards of the hotel (comes with a map sometimes) and write your direct telephone number and the office number at the back of the hotel cards. Hand those out to all the members of the family together with photocopies of their passport and medical records.
If you are not able to speak any language spoken in the new country, ask someone to prepare a couple of cards with the most common phrases to be handed out as well. This will range from “Bring me back to my hotel” to “Where is the restroom/toilet”. These pre-printed messages will be of great help when you require assistance from the locals. Ask someone to explain you the public transport system. Teenagers sometimes worry about getting lost in a big city. It is a good idea to find a companion to take them along when using public transport for the first time.
If you are driving: you need to know know what to do in case of a car accident and study the traffic rules. You will be fined and punished according to local laws. Do not offer cash to police officers if you are caught for committing an illegal offence. Otherwise, you may be charged for bribing!
Inform Friends And Family
Phone home and inform friends and family about your present address and direct telephone/room numbers and make them aware of the time difference. Give them specific times when they can reach you as you will be very busy and not always able to return their calls at once. Do not rely on the local operator or concierge to pass on messages! The best way to avoid problems is by obtaining a mobile phone!
Let your embassy know you have arrived and get your name on their mailing list. Keep them informed on your change of address when moving within the country/city.
Safety in Daily Life
While living in a foreign country you should maintain the same security basics and behaviors as applied at home. They may help you and your family to cope with culture shock and feel safer and more comfortable from the start of your new assignment. Take your family through those precautions and establish new steps if you have to live in unstable circumstances.
● Never attract attention to the fact that you are a foreigner.
● Avoid clothes or items identifying your country of origin.
● Avoid locations you are not familiar with and stay away from known unsafe areas or public areas considered high-risk for targeted groups.
● Identify inappropriate behavior, which is country and culture specific and has been acceptable at home but will not be acceptable any more in the host country.
● Wear decent clothes in Islamic countries and adapt soon to the local culture.
● Make yourself familiar with the local laws and learn how what to do and not to do in case of an arrest.
● Know whom you trust: expatriates are very often extremely casual about child minders, drivers picking up kids from school or any other domestic helpers staying close to the family.
● Identify a person/place to contact/meet each other in case of an emergency. Do not rely on mobile phones alone.
● Learn how to use a public phone (how do they look like?) in the event of an emergency. Learn the country’s emergency numbers for fire, police, ambulances and the appropriate words to use in the foreign language (fire, accident, injury, help, police, doctor, bomb, ambulance. etc.)
● Teach your child what to do if becoming separated from you/the caretaker, especially if your child does not speak the local language.
● Set-up a family codeword for special emergency situations.
● Do not discuss politics, religious issues etc. with strangers. e.g. taxi drivers.
Dealing with Emergency Situations
While we are taking you through several procedures to prepare for an emergency you also have to make you and your family familiar with the steps to take if an emergency takes place. We suggest you have a family conference to go through the most possible situations and train each family member according to the situation.
The web sites below are a wealth of information and provide check-lists and special information even for youngster to deal with the dangers. A special section is dedicated to emergency supplies you may want to order before your departure as they may not be available in the host country.