When a disaster strikes, are your children prepared to face the challenges? Emergency preparedness information is important for all the family, including children. In the event of a disaster, your child might be in a position where they have to overcome the situation alone. Here are some essential tips about emergency preparedness for children:
- Work together with your children to build an emergency kit. The kit should include the basic supplies your family might need for three days in case of an emergency. For children, consider including toys, books, or other items to help pass the time. Follow this link to learn how to build a supplies kit.
- Teach your children about natural hazards, such as wildfires, storms, hurricanes, blizzards, and earthquakes. If your child is aware of the different disasters that can strike, there is a better chance he will know what to do when they occur.
- Make a family communications plan. The plan should include a list of contacts, a designated meeting spot, a map, and all the home exits. Discuss the details with your children and encourage them to contribute. Help them learn all the routes (from school, playground, etc.) to the meeting spot and where the home exits are. Children should also carry a printed (or digital) contact list and emergency plan. By texting you, encourage them to let you know they are OK after a disaster. Practice the plan together twice a year.
- Help them cope. Most children may feel confused and traumatized when a disaster strikes. It’s important to stay calm and provide emotional support for your children to prevent them from being affected by psychological distress. Be there for them and talk to them about what they are feeling. Give them just the right amount of information they need about the disaster. Don’t let children watch the disaster coverage on the news, as this can increase their anxiety. If they do, be with them to answer questions.
Preparedness is key to staying safe during and after an emergency.
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