How to Choose the Right Emergency Contact For You

There may come a time in your life when you’re incapacitated and need help, whether due to a medical, physical, or personal crisis. Having a designated emergency contact in place gives emergency personnel and healthcare providers someone to contact if you’re in a crisis.

Choosing the right contact is an important decision that should be given considerable thought. Here are some guidelines:

The person should be someone you trust. They need to be willing and able to answer questions about you and also make decisions if needed, so you should trust that they have your best interests at heart and will honor your wishes. This means the individual can be a partner or spouse, a family member, a good friend, or a neighbor. 

Ideally it should be someone who lives close by. While designating someone who lives further away is always an option, having someone close by simplifies matters, especially if they need to appear in or speak to someone in person. 

It should be someone who is available and able to communicate with emergency personnel. Choose a person who is usually available in case the need arises. If someone’s job requires them to be gone or unreachable on a regular basis (for example a flight attendant or an oil rig derrickman), they may not be the best person for this role.  

Consider having more than one emergency contact. It might make sense to have more than one contact. Contact #1 can be the person you want contacted immediately if something happens to you. It can be your spouse, your partner, a relative, a close friend, or another trusted person. Make sure you let them know you’ve designated them as your emergency contact. Contact #2 can be the person you want contacted if your primary emergency contact is unavailable. Make sure you let him or her know as well that you’ve designated them as your emergency contact.

Carry your emergency contact’s name and mobile number with you. The most common and smartest place to carry your contact’s information is your wallet or wherever you keep your identification/driver’s license, credit cards, and house/car keys. Better yet, make several copies and put them in different places such as your car’s glove compartment, your backpack, or anywhere else someone might need quick access to the information if something happens to you. 

You can get access to your very own emergency contact card by clicking our Free Resources page here