Our children are our future. I’m sure we have heard that term once or twice before. Most parents who ready themselves for the possibility of disaster often do it simply for their children. With that said lets get right to it, 13 disaster planning tips with with kids in mind.
Disaster preparedness tips with our youth in mind
1. Include your children in your preparations often. Engage them in conversation and explain what it is you are preparing for. As always, carry a calm demeanor and answer any questions they may have honestly and keep your answers simple. Target safety issues here. A good start when starting to include small children into your plan would be explaining the need for your family to have a fire escape plan for your home as well as alternate escape route(s) to follow in case of an expedited evacuation.
2. Create multiple family meeting sites and ensure your child knows where it is. This could be a neighbors porch after a fire drill or a local town park. Your family should instinctively know where to meet in case of an event. You can make these drills fun and educational.
3. As soon as you can it wouldn’t be a bad idea to have them start learning to memorize some basic information such as their name, full address and telephone number. If heaven forbid they were ever separated from their parents or guardians during a disaster that knowledge could be the key on uniting quickly.
4. Where does your kid spend a good majority of his day? School and or daycare. Your child’s school has a disaster plan. Learn it’s policies in case of event. Have your emergency contacts pick your child up at least once to familiarize as well. Check with the school to ensure the emergency contact information is current and correct at least once a year.
5. Educate your children on the importance of using 911. Go over what they should have to say to a dispatcher if they should ever have to call. Role playing here helps but always remember to play down the event as much as possible, you don’t want to spook your children.
6. Create an out of town contact. Someone not affected by what ever disaster you may be dealing with. Make sure the family knows how to reach this person post disaster.
7. Sit your kids in front of the computer and have them visit (http://www.ready.gov/kids). Its a great website created by DHS to inform our youth about disaster preparedness from a child’s standpoint. The site is very well done and I applaud them for a change.
8. Create emergency contact cards for each child. Include basic informatory, pertinent medical information as well as out of town contacts. Refresh this page in a week or so and I should have some examples for you. For now check http://www.ready.gov/.
9. Include your neighbors. Not just because its the right thing to do. Get them on board if your children’s friends live in the neighborhood. A healthy network is not only good for your family but the moral of the children involved to continue some form of extended social interaction
10. Stop, drop and roll (fire). Drop, cover and hold (earthquake). It wouldn’t hurt to practice the basics if you live in a prevalent natural disaster zone.
11. Educate your children how to recognize the smell of gas and the importance of telling an adult even if they are only guessing at best. Inform them of the need to get out doors as soon as possible in the event that the smell of gas is present.
12. Teach them to avoid downed trees and utility poles and wires associated with them that may be live.
13. Put together a small kit for your kid(s). In it include a few favorite toys, board games or items to pacify your children.
We hope this helps!