You never know when you will be faced with an emergency that will affect you, your spouse, children and pets. It is smart to talk in advance and come up with a plan of action in case disaster strikes.

Prepare yourself and your family for any emergency by planning ahead. Think about where your daily activities take you and your family. Who depends on you and who do you depend on? How would an emergency affect your day? If someone in your family relies on special equipment or medications include plans to ensure that these needs will continue to be met.

Build a Family Plan

Developing a family plan is a good way to help prepare yourself and your family for a disaster. Your family may not be together in the event of an emergency. Have a discussion to plan what will happen in case a disaster strikes and you are not together.

Even a simple plan is good but it should at least include the following information:

  • How will you contact each other?
  • How you will get back together?
  • The name and number of an out of area contact that can serve as the central communications point if the local phone lines are down or busy.

How to Talk to Your Kids about a Potential Disaster

When talking to kids about disasters, it is important to teach them about what kinds of things could happen but without scaring them needlessly. The idea is to help them feel prepared and thus reduce fears. Explaining the facts and potential impacts of a disaster is important but it is even more important to help them feel empowered with actions they can take to stay safe. If you are putting together a disaster plan with your spouse, be open with your kids about what you are doing and if possible, involve them in activities like putting together a disaster supplies kit and testing fire alarms.

Age Appropriate Instructions

If you have a baby or toddler, the only thing you can do is to try and create the safest possible environment around them. Some ideas are securing bookshelves to walls and keeping heavy books on the bottom of book cases.

Most kids are ready for basic safety instructions starting at about age 4 but be careful not to overwhelm your child with too much information all at once. Teach one safety action at a time such as Drop, Cover and Hold for an earthquake. Be sure to physically show them how to do it and have them practice with you until you are sure they have it down. After a few days of practice, go ahead and introduce another safety measure such as Stop, Drop, and Roll for a fire. As kids get older, you may wish to introduce discussions about how a disaster is something that can hurt people or cause damage. Explain that sometimes nature gets out of control and causes a disaster.

Teach children:

  • How to call for help
  • Who to call for help
  • When to call each designated emergency number
  • To call the family contact if they are separated
  • To keep some personal identification information with them

Don’t forget to plan for your pets. Where will they go if disaster strikes?

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