Every family should have an emergency action plan ready in the event of a crisis, which may affect the emotional and physical stability of the family, especially the children. What happens if both parents are at work, terrorists strike a big city and they’re unable to return home? The emergency action plan should outline a series of guidelines and actions you, the nanny, can take during an emergency. The plan should include details like a list of people your employers can entrust with the welfare and well-being of the children and their contact information, as well as contact information for the pediatrician and, in fact, anyone who could offer support during an emergency. There should be open dialogue about what you, the nanny, are allowed to do with the children in the event of a crisis and both parents are away from home. A good emergency action plan should include instructions for terrorist attacks, natural disasters (e.g., earthquake, fire, and storm), accidents, sickness, and even death.
Nannies, you must ensure that you also have an emergency action plan for your own family and children, especially if you are stuck on the job due to an emergency and unable to return to your residence. Designate a trusted friend or family member to oversee the safety of your children in your absence and maybe also the absence of your spouse. Lastly, ensure that you understand the execution of those plans in the event of a real emergency.
Debbie, an experienced nanny, was at work with the two children under her care. The children were napping when Debbie began to feel the apartment shake. As the apartment was on the ninth floor, she grew alarmed. For some reason, she immediately thought that a “bad spirit” had come into the apartment. Debbie, an avid church attendee who could quote any scripture, grabbed the holy oil she carried with her everywhere she went. “Today you seem to be out for me,” she shouted in her southern Caribbean accent. “But I rebuke you and cast you out,” she continued, but now also anointing every door in the small apartment with the sign of the cross. Her act was indeed ironic because Debbie worked with a Jewish family. She recited every Psalm she knew. She heard her telephone ring as the apartment shook once more. Realizing her employer was calling, she dashed for the phone, and, before she could tell her employer about her current ordeal, her employer inquired whether she had felt the earthquake. “Oh, that was an earthquake?” she embarrassedly said to her employer. At that point, she closed her secret weapon, returning her “holy oil” to its sacred place, her bag.
When Debbie told me that story, I laughed until I cried, but there was a message in the laughter; as a caregiver, you should always be mindful of your environment and be a very quick thinker who can make instantaneous and wise spur-of-the-moment decisions.
Excerpt from “A Guide to Developing a Successful Family and Nanny Relationship…yes it’s possible” by Alene Mathurin