How to Make a Disaster Preparedness Plan for Children
During a fire, hurricane or other disaster, children might be in a position where they have to overcome the situation alone. Thus, emergency preparedness information is important for all the family, including children. Here are some important tips about emergency preparedness with regards to children:
Parents should work together with their children to build an emergency kit. The kit should include the basic supplies a family might need for 3 days in case of an emergency, as well as children’s toys, books or other items to help pass the time. More details about building a disaster supplies kit can be found here.
Kids should be taught about natural hazards, such as wildfires, storms, hurricanes, blizzards and earthquakes. If a child is aware of the different disasters that can strike, there is a better chance he will know what to do when they occur.
Families have to establish a communications plan that should include a list of contacts, a designated meeting spot, a map and all the exits of the home. The details must be discussed with the children. They should 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 with them. Families are encouraged to practice the plan together twice a year.
Kids should be helped to cope. Most children feel confused and traumatized when a disaster strikes. It’s important for parents to stay calm and provide emotional support for their children to prevent them from being affected by psychological distress. Moreover, children should be given just the right amount of information they need about the disaster; they shouldn’t watch the disaster coverage on the news, as this can increase their anxiety. If they do, parents must be there for them to answer questions.
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