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Depending on your age, you may or may not know what it means to keep a hardcopy telephone book. If you recall those personal address books, you may envision smudged inked pages from so much use or remember earmarked pages or even certain worn-out alphabets hanging on the edges. Regardless of what your or your mom or grandma’s telephone book looked like, everyone knew where to find it. Sometimes you’d find it resting in a drawer or on the counter, or sometimes the address book was tucked away in Mama’s pocketbook (purse): I’m dating myself. Hehe! If an emergency occurred, that address book held the lifeline for all the essential people in the family. In those days, we had no group text to expedite our quest. If multiple people needed a contact, you’d first make those priority calls and then. Open the book. Start at ‘A,’ and work your way through the alphabets. 


In those yesteryears, most everyone maintained a family contact list, an address book. However, the norm for today fosters a contactless culture. At first glance, this may not seem the case because all we need to do is broadcast our message through social media–Done. Yet, most of us have passwords or facial or fingerprint recognition on our technology when it comes to accessing and reaching out in a personal or intimate vein. These security systems limit our ability to access the internal contact list. Subsequently, we contact less people, which has created a culture where contactless has become the status quo.


What’s the Fix?


I suggest we return to the old landmark by resurrecting a traditional household address book. Fill it with any contact information of those you want contacted in case of an emergency or death. If someone doesn’t know your passcode on your phone, everyone’s hands get tied. Frustrations mount, and key people may not receive vital information. Well, they’ll probably learn it publicly with the general audience through social media if someone posts the news. I say, “no bueno.” For starters, some things shouldn’t get blasted on social media until all those key people who need to know the information get informed. And just for the record, if someone gets seriously injured, or worse yet, dies, it’s poor form to post without consent from an immediate family member or spokesperson for the family. I’ve seen this happen far too often. Trust me; it’s better to err on the side of caution. We may mean well, but it doesn’t deliver from a place of goodwill when the family learns that intimate details of their family crisis hit social media before they had time to even process or communicate to their immediate family and close friends. 


Besides Family & Close Friends, Who Should Get Included In the Household Address Book?


Include name, telephone number, email, and relationship to eliminate any confusion:


  • Primary Physician

(Note–Keep a list of all medications on hand somewhere.)

  • Physician Specialist
  • Pastor/Rabbi/Priest/Spiritual Advisor
  • Place of Employment (Boss/Coworker)
  • School/Day Care Principal/Teacher
  • Military Contact
  • Neighbor 

(Note–Make friends with at least one good neighbor–priceless.)

  • Primary Bank/Credit Union
  • Insurance Agents
  • Attorney
  • Support Person/Spokesperson

(Note–Select a trustworthy person to do the heavy lifting to 

communicate any news you need to have delivered in the manner 

that you need it shared.


This list isn’t exhaustive, but it’s a good starting point.


Live Long–Prosper and Prepare

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