Request for you from fire victim’s friends: 2 steps to take now, just in case

(November 24th WSB/WCN photo by Patrick Sand)
The night of the November 24th house fire that killed 71-year-old Peggy Munsen, we heard from her friend Lissa Stephens, who explained she had seen the WSB coverage and went to the scene to tell authorities she knew the victim’s identity – since she wasn’t sure they would be able to reach Ms. Munsen’s out-of-town family. As a result of that, Lissa and her husband wanted to share information to make sure that others could be sure that their families could be reached in case of tragedy or disaster. Here’s their message to you:

A Note to Our Friends and Neighbors of West Seattle and beyond –

Our friend Peggy Munsen passed away tragically from a fire in her home on November 24th. To quote her sister, Kay, “Peggy was a friend to all.” She was a wonderfully sweet and kind lady with a wicked sense of humor and a hearty laugh that could make you laugh; a dear friend who will be greatly missed.

When we first saw the article about the fire on the Blog, all I could think of was “How would they find her sisters to let them know she passed?” and so we (my husband and I) raced over to Peggy’s that night and gave the fire commander the contact information, who then contacted her sister, Kay, of Bremerton.

With Peggy’s passing, it became very apparent to us that very few people would know how to reach our families (all out of town) if such circumstances were to happen to us.

I would like to ask everyone to take a few minutes to really consider the importance of having an emergency contact information sheet. In the last few days I have asked several of my friends “If you perished in a house fire, how would people know how to notify your next-of-kin?” Nobody had a good answer, me included. Our hope is that this small note will get people thinking and taking action to make sure their emergency contact information is in order and with a neighbor, a copy in the freezer or with friends.

Here is a sample template of an emergency contact sheet that is downloadable and alterable to fit your family and circumstances.

There are many samples on the internet, most free. In our case we will also include our pets and any medications.

It is also suggested to put a contact listing in your cell phone titled “ICE” – in-case-of-emergency, with important contact information and phone numbers.

During this busy holiday season please take a few minutes to update your emergency information.

Be grateful for your friends and family who are still with you.
Wishing everyone safe and happy holidays!

Lissa and Bill Stephens

As noted in Ms. Munsen’s obituary, published here earlier this morning, her memorial service is at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church tomorrow.

7 Replies to "Request for you from fire victim's friends: 2 steps to take now, just in case"

  • cmc December 5, 2012 (10:49 am)

    Very sorry for your loss. Thanks for taking the time to help others during this difficult time.

  • WestSeattle91 December 5, 2012 (10:57 am)

    Another idea is something I heard of a few year’s ago from a law enforcement friend. On your cell/smart phone you should create a contact called ICE, “in case of emergency.” Under the content of this you can place your emergency contact info; names, phone numbers, locations, etc. Since most people carry their cell phones with them at all times, if you were, say, in a car accident and were unconscious, the emergency responders could find this information quickly and make notifications.

  • sam-c December 5, 2012 (11:11 am)

    sorry for the loss of your friend.

    i have heard about ‘ICE’ but was wondering how a stranger (like SFD or SPD) would be able to look up contacts. don’t most phones these days have passwords ? (our doesn’t but we still have a ‘dumbphone’)

  • Amie December 5, 2012 (11:38 am)

    The password protected smartphone issue is exactly the problem I have. I have ICE contacts listed, but no one would be able to unlock my phone to find them

    Sounds like an opportunity for improvement for the cell phone companies or for an app developer!

  • Trickycoolj December 5, 2012 (12:09 pm)

    Another good tip if you’re an outdoors person or even venture out on long walks alone without ID on you (like walking the dog without bringing a purse) consider a RoadID or similar product. It seems silly to wear an ID bracelet but if I go snowboarding with my friends and conk my head, my friends probably don’t know my parents’ phone numbers or my insurance or medical info. The first responders can grab it all from my profile online. I jokingly tell my friends my insurance card is in my pocket make sure they take me to a good hospital! But it’s also true…

  • Brian Waid December 5, 2012 (4:47 pm)

    Personal Safety Nets, HQ in WS, has excellent advice on this subject.

  • themightyrabbit December 6, 2012 (6:00 pm)

    website link to emergency sheet doesn’t work fyi at least for me.

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