We’ve discussed Hurricane Season in depth on this blog, but one aspect of the preparation process that merits harping is children. Sure you’ve prepared your Disaster Supply Kit, but do your kids know what to do? How to react? Where to go? Children have unique needs and require special attention when planning for a disaster.
Here is a two-step process to prepare your children for a potential disaster.
Step One: Preparing your children
First, be sure you discuss with your children the potential for a disaster in a way that does not alarm or scare them. Go over some of the warning signs and sounds they might hear or see in the event of a disaster such as warning sirens and radio and television reports. Place an emergency contact list by the telephone and teach your child how to call for help. Designate a meeting stop outside of the house, should you be separated and need to evacuate the home. Lastly, assign an out of town friend or relative to act as the family point of contact in case of an emergency.
Step Two: Preparing your home
Double check that your disaster supply kit is packed, complete and up to date. Depending on the age and needs of your children, be sure that there is ample supply of formula, baby food, bottles and diapers. Plan an escape route and an alternate route for your children from each room in the house. Practice these route periodically to make sure your child remembers them. Locate safe places in your home for each type of disaster and show your child where they are.
Whether a tornado or hurricane or flood or other type of disaster, it is important to have activities to keep your children busy and help them remain calm. Add to your Disaster Supply Kit, puzzles, cards, crayons and paper, storybooks, etc.
The FEMA website for kids has helpful tips, information and activities to prepare your child for a disaster. Be sure to visit the website periodically to refresh your child on what to do if a disaster strikes.
Thank you D Sharon Pruitt for the photo.