There is nothing scarier for a parent or grandparent than to be separated from their kids or grandkids during an emergency and not be able to reach them. It’s nothing short of terrifying.
If a disaster strikes when your kids or grandkids are at home or school while you are at work or out of town, will they know what to do?
There’s one way to make sure they know exactly what you want them to do in that type of situation. That’s by creating a family emergency plan and regularly discussing it with your family.
Some parents and grandparents don’t do this because they don’t want to alarm their kids or cause them to worry. Their intentions may be good, but that’s not something they don’t need to be concerned about.
A Plan to Ease Their Minds
Actually, the kids will rest easier knowing there is a plan in place should an emergency occur. They will feel like important members of the family when it comes to preparing for a disaster and will be more likely to respond appropriately once a crisis strikes.
Not knowing about a family emergency plan, on the other hand, is likely to put them more at risk.
Even the government, which usually does not see eye to eye with us regarding the potential for a crisis situation, agrees that preparedness is important. They even have a website set up for that very thing.
Here are 12 tips for parents who have chosen to talk to their kids about being prepared for a crisis:
- Include your children or grandchildren in family preparedness discussions, answering their questions honestly.
- Have your kids or grandkids memorize their personal information, including their names, parents’ and grandparents’ names, addresses and phone numbers.
- Learn the disaster response policies of your kids’ and grandkids’ school or day care center and have a back-up plan in place for someone to pick them up if you can’t.
- Ensure that your kids’ or grandkids’ school or daycare center has your current emergency contact information.
- Have at least two pre-arranged meeting places for your family and make sure the kids or grandkids know where they are, as returning to your home in a crisis might not be possible.
- Establish an out-of-state contact known by your children or grandchildren and their school or day care center, in case local lines are down and only long distance circuits are functioning.
- Teach your kids or grandkids how to use 911 and rehearse what they should say to a dispatcher.
- Make sure your kids or grandkids know to stay away from downed power lines, utility poles and trees.
- Practice evacuation routes and strategies as a family.
- Teach your children or grandchildren responses such as Drop, Cover and Hold, and Stop, Drop and Roll.
- Prepare a small “bug-out bag” for each child or grandchild, including items such as a family photo, toy, game, book or puzzle, plus treats.
- Place copies of your kids’ or grandkids’ birth certificates, recent photos and kids’ comfort foods in your bug-out bag.
As always, the key is to do it now. The longer you delay, the less likely you will be to do it.