Go low tech to die less

By » Wed, January 25 2012
Phone booth Go low tech to die less

Could you use this antique? img by Barb Howe

I am just barely old enough to remember having to either write down or memorize the phone numbers of all my friends. While cell phone contact lists have freed us from this drudgery most of us  would be adrift without them. How many numbers do you know my heart? Of those numbers how many would you contact in an emergency?

A few weeks ago I realized that in an emergency I could only remember two or three numbers in my contact list. Of those there was only one I would call in an emergency. Fortunately the solution to this problem is pretty simple. Go through your contact list and decide who on that list you are most likely to call in an emergency. Pick out as many as you deem necessary. Once that list has been picked, whittle it down to somewhere between three and five contacts.

The people you pick for your list should meet at least one of the of the following criteria:

  • Is this person available more often than not? A sister who is a sales rep that travels 75% of the year would be a bad choice.
  • Are they familiar with many others in my personal network? At least one person on your list should be able marshal the resources of your entire personal network.
  • Can they be trusted with vital personal information? Some emergencies may require massive information or cash in a hurry. You should have someone you can trust in mind that you can divulge your password or PIN to should the need arise.
  • Do they respond well to pressure? Your beloved Great Uncle Merle may be great fun at the blackjack table, but if he’s likely to get overwhelmed by an emergency leave him off the list.
  • Are they nearby? Your brother may  have ice water in his veins but if he lives in Vermont and you are in California, he might not be able to provide much assistance.

Once you have the list put together print it out and put copies in places where you likely to have access to at almost any given time. Put one in your wallet, the car, a back pack or bag you always carry, etc. Keep one with your vehicle documents and another in the center console. To keep the wallet copy from disintegrating laminate it with clear packing tape front and back. Periodically go over the list and make any necessary changes.

Dying less often boils down to remembering the 6P’s: Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance. Ten or fifteen minutes spent now means you are better equipped to deal with the petty and daunting problems that crop up.

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