Preparing Your Child for Emergencies
One of the hardest things to talk about with our children is what to do if there is an emergency. We don’t want to scare our kids, but we want to make sure they are prepared in case something happens such as a fire, natural disaster, or in this day and age, a terrorist attack. One way to make it fun and easy for a child to participate in emergency planning is to make it fun for them. FEMA has a lot of free resources for disaster planning that are made specifically for children. Don’t know where to start for your family’s emergency preparedness? We’ve gathered some tips to help you and your children get started!
Make a Plan
Tip #1 is to make a emergency plan for what to do if there is an emergency of any kind. Children need to know that their family has rules set in place for them to follow if there is danger. First, pick a designated adult to contact in case of emergency. Things will be less hectic if one person is the go to for calls or text messages in case of emergency. Next, choose a fire escape plan for your home or apartment. Make sure you have two exits for each room and designate a meeting place outside and away from any dangers (roads, water sources, woods). For example, a specific tree in your back yard, maybe even a neighbors house if they live next to you. For emergencies when not at home, pick a location where everyone can meet, like a park or school.
Memorize Useful Information
Tip #2 is to have your child memorize key pieces of information in case of emergency. Their name, address, phone number, and birthday are essential to know if your child needs to ask for help. Parents names are also important, however if your child is too young to remember this information, make sure it is written down on a card and kept in your child’s backpack at all times. Teach your child to carry their backpack in an emergency and the information will always be safe and ready at hand.
Pack Your Child With Essentials
Tip #3 is to begin your child with a small readiness pack to carry with them in case they need it. Things to pack could include a small first aid kit with bandages and antiseptic ointment (get permission from school nurse), reflective material, emergency whistle, small flashlight, water bottle, protein snack and small comforts like candy or a stuffed animal. These things will help your child should an emergency arise at school and you are separated from them.
Emergencies At Home
Tip #4 is to make an emergency response kit for your household to keep at home. This should include emergency food rations, water, blankets, flashlights, extra batteries, eating utensils, paper plates, whistle, can opener, blankets, hand-crank radio, first aid kit, and baby supplies if needed.
Practice Brings Progress
Tip #5 is practice, practice, practice. Having a plan for emergencies will not help your family unless you practice those skills into your child’s memory. Practicing can also be a fun way of letting your child show you how much they have learned!
It’s All In The Family
Tip #6 is to allow your child to be an advocate for emergency planning. Encourage them to talk to their neighbors, friends, extended family, church members, little league team and just about anyone else about the plan they helped create for the family. It will assist your child with retaining the information and spread the word about emergency preparedness planning in a cute and positive way.
Now that you have some ideas, start implementing! In no time you could have your children ready in the face of danger, emergencies, or disasters. Being prepared will allow your family to enjoy their lives to the fullest and worry less about what could happen.
This article was a guest submission from Lee Flynn who is a freelance writer and expert in emergency food preparedness and food storage.