Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, “preparedness has become a hot topic among many families. After all, those who have prepared may be sitting pretty right now, with their well-established gardens, food stores and other measures to protect against the effects of such an unexpected calamity.
But, in order to be truly prepared, you have to be mindful about natural disasters as well. What will you do if a wildfire, tornado or a hurricane comes your way? What if a natural disaster happens while your kids are at a school? These are all considerations and conversations that need to happen, especially if you live in an area that’s prone to natural disasters.
Keep reading to learn some tips on how to have a family preparedness plan and how to discuss it with them so that you stay organized and safe for any unexpected natural calamity.
“People may hear your words, but they feel your attitude – John C. Maxwell
Talk with Your Children
As parents, we tend to coddle our children and assume that they won’t be able to handle disaster prep talk.
Truth is, kids feel safer and more confident when they know that there’s a family plan in place. Plus, it’ll help them to feel empowered when something actually does happen, and they won’t flounder under the pressure.
Don’t Complicate Things
If your kids are of preschool age, then you want to start by helping them understand the characteristics of an emergency and let them know that everyone must work together when something unexpected happens.
To start off, it might be helpful to make a few examples of events that might happen as a result of the disaster.
For instance, the smoke alarm might go off, you might hear and see fire trucks, etc. Children need to understand the function of each of these occurrences and how to react to emergency responders.
Reassure your children that there are professional utility workers, firefighters, police officers, and doctors who can and will step in to help during times of emergency.
In addition to communicating the ideas expressed above with them, children in this age group would benefit from you telling them about the potential disasters that could possibly happen in your area.
Perhaps you live in a place that’s prone to hurricanes, volcanoes or tornadoes. Tell them what your family has done to prepare for that and what measures to take in order to stay safe.
Take this time to answer any questions that they may have, and make sure they know how to contact you in case an emergency happens while they’re at school or out of the house.
Assign tasks to each child so they know what to do in case of emergencies. One of them could help with collecting the first aid kit and emergency supplies. Also, make sure that there’s a comfort toy and/or stuffed animal packed into each of your children’s emergency backpacks.
Get Help from Middle School and High School Kids
In addition to teaching them all the information provided in the previous sections, it’s important to assign a little more responsibility to older kids and teens so they can play a more hands-on role in implementing the family’s emergency plan.
Make sure to give them a list of people to contact in case of an emergency should you not be around, including neighbors and relatives.
Have a Family Emergency Plan in Place
While the idea of “sheltering in place is pretty much understood by most people, what we’re experiencing now with the pandemic is mild compared to an emergency. That’s because, in a natural disaster, you don’t even have an opportunity to go to the shops every now and then.
You need to have essential supplies on hand for when you can’t go anywhere at all. Things like:
- Nonperishable food
- Medical supplies
- Flashlights with batteries
- A battery-operated radio
- Bottled water
You should also have emergency backpacks for each member of your family, complete with extra things, such as:
- An emergency blanket
- An emergency contact list
- First aid kits
- Diapers when necessary
Practice for Evacuation
One of the most important things to do in times of emergency is to flee in time. Do a few practice drills with your family to ensure that everyone knows how to exit the house in an organized yet quick way.
Teach your kids about emergency signals and let them know which items they should grab if they could only take one thing in an emergency. Decide on a rendezvous point where everyone will meet after the evacuation.
Decide What You Will Do
If the natural disaster requires you to leave your house, make sure everyone understands what to do in case electronics fail.
In addition to planning a rendezvous point, make sure they have the contact information of trusty adults from the community.
Create Safe Spaces Inside the House
Designate safe areas within the house, where everyone should congregate to prepare for hurricane, winter storm, tornado or similar disaster.
Preferably, this area should contain first-aid kids, supplies, and materials to board up windows. The basement is often perfect for this purpose.
Planning for an emergency isn’t an easy task, but it’s necessary. Have you taught your family how to be prepared? Let us know how it went through our Facebook page!
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