About a month ago we experienced a tragedy at Wipfli. One of our associates saw two girls who were struggling in the waters of Lake Superior and jumped in to save them. Luckily, one of the girls survived, but our associate and the other girl did not. This not only impacted many people here at Wipfli, but had a very personal impact on me, as well, because Justin (our associate) was engaged to my niece Suzy. To make the story sadder, he was at the lake taking a break from finalizing wedding plans with Suzy.
When I got the call, I offered to let the appropriate people at Wipfli know what had happened, since his family was in shock and unsure of who to contact. While I knew who that would be, I soon realized that with it being a weekend and being out of town myself, it was difficult for me to find cell phone numbers for the right people. Eventually we got everyone contacted, but given the situation, it was a little overwhelming for me. We subsequently made some minor changes to our procedures to make this easier should something happen in the future.
While no one ever anticipates such a tragedy occurring, does your institution have appropriate contingency plans and emergency contacts available? If you aren't sure, there is no time like the present to make sure communicating and addressing issues during tough times is as easy as you can make it for the impacted parties. Hopefully no one ever has to go through an event like this, but if they do, help them now by making sure people know what the contingency plan is and who to contact. If you are unsure or need help crafting an adequate plan, call you relationship partner, and we can help you address what steps should be considered.
P.S. Take every opportunity to tell those close to you how much they mean to you. You may never get another chance.