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Prepare Your Kids Before Disaster Strikes
The key to survival in disasters is planning. Once the disaster has hit, it’s already too late. It’s especially important to create a safety plan when you have little ones. Severe weather can scare children, but having a plan helps them know what to expect and reduces the fear and stress.
Talk to Your Children
In order to prepare your children without scaring them, start by explaining that an emergency is something unusual that can harm people or things, and that nature can sometimes provide too much of rain, wind and snow, says Dr. Sanam Hafeez. Explain to your kids that everyone can handle the situation better if they’re prepared. Finally, teach your children the difference between an emergency and a problem. When they need help with something, it is a problem and they should call a parent. When there is an emergency, it will require immediate medical assistance, police or fire services, and they should call 9-1-1. Make sure your children know how serious calling emergency services is.
First, create an emergency supplies kit. This should include water, flashlights, blankets, nonperishable foods and kid-friendly activities. A battery-operated radio is helpful to listen to the National Weather Service. The supply kit should be stored as close to your shelter as possible. Determine your severe weather spot, such as a basement of closet. Identify an emergency contact and make sure your children understand how to reach him or her.
Take your children through two evacuation routes, a safe room and your meet-up location. Hafeez says, “One of the best ways to determine how much your child knows and what she still needs to learn about emergency preparedness is to role play specific scenarios that she could potentially encounter. There’s a reason why public schools practice routine fire drills: they help kids prepare in a relatively low-stress environment for an emergency so that, in a high-pressure situation, they know how to react.”
During the Disaster:
If disaster strikes, your children will be looking to you for clues on how to act. Stay calm and collected so as not to insight fear in your whole family. Children’s fear is increased by their imaginations so make sure to provide comfort and reassurance.
Practice these safety routines with your children and and feel free to learn more at our Facebook page! If you’d like to set up a consultation for a home monitoring system, we encourage you to visit our website.