Catawba County News
New School Year is Great Time to Check Your Family Emergency Plan
Published: August 18, 2022
School starts soon and families will be spending more time apart for school, sports and activites. Have you thought about what types of disasters or emergencies could arise when your children are not with you? Remember emergencies or disasters can happen anywhere, anytime and without warning.
When addressing these topics with children, consider how successful Fire & Life Safety Educators have been with programs like “stop, drop and roll” and “crawl low under smoke”. These are introduced to children at very early ages and then reinforced often throughout the elementary school years. Children are not only told what to do, they are shown how and then perform the task. Most adults still remember those messages.
Use this same approach when addressing emergency preparedness. Focus on simple messages or tasks with younger children and then increase the complexity with age or cognitive abilities. A younger child can be taught the phrase “when thunder roars, go indoors” and learn to go inside when they hear thunder. An older child can understand the reason behind the action, that lightning can strike up to 10 miles away.
Some key points about family preparedness
- Include children in preparedness conversations
- Practice your emergency plans regularly
- Teach children when and how to call 9-1-1
- Have an emergency communications plan
- With a list of key contacts to reach out to during an emergency
- With at least one out of town emergency contact that every family member can reach
- That every member keeps with them in sports bags, book bags, emergency kits, and cell phones.
If you are not sure on where to begin, Ready.gov has resources to help. For information on how to prepare your children go to https://www.ready.gov/kids/prepare-your-family. For games and other interactive resources for children to learn more about disaster preparedness, go to https://www.ready.gov/kids/be-ready-kids
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has additional tools and resources at https://www.cdc.gov/childrenindisasters/tools-and-resources.html and a printable emergency card that can go in your child’s backpack, https://www.cdc.gov/parents/backtoschool/Backpack-Card.pdf
Emergencies and disasters are scary even for adults, the more you prepare as a family, the more those fears and anxieties are reduced. Preparing for emergencies will help your children be resilient and recover afterwards.