KIDS PREPARING FOR EVACUATIONS
You see smoke coming from the kitchen. Maybe the police have come to your door and announced that your neighborhood is being evacuated for an incoming hurricane. Or possibly you have to immediately flee your home due to incoming floods. Are you prepared for an evacuation? Many of us may understand that emergencies are a possibility, but how many of us are truly prepared for what may come?
Evacuation can have a very scary connotation for many people, but the reality is that many of us have to go through it. In the city of Minot, Missouri a total of 12,000 residents were ordered to leave their homes due to the flooding of the Souris River. And that was only a quarter of the city! It is evident that families are always at risk in these emergencies, and included in these families are the children. Children can become very scared, emotional, and panicked in an emergency situation. Wouldn’t things pan out easier if you had a fire evacuation plan for children? There are many parts of the evacuation plan that children could put their skills towards to help the entire family get out the door smoothly.
One of the first things a child can do to help prepare for an emergency is to make an emergency backpack. This can be a fun activity as well as a great resource if an emergency occurs. First, let your child pick out a backpack, then fill it with a variety of important items such as flashlight/head lamp, glow sticks, rope, books and toys, whistle, snacks, and water bottle. This backpack should then be placed next to all of your emergency supplies. Therefore, when and if an emergency occurs, your child knows exactly what is theirs and what they should grab on their way out.
If a child is in charge of their own emergency materials, then this could be a great distraction from their fear. One thing the entire family has to be in charge of is clothes for at least three days. You can easily have the child run to their room and grab the clothes they will need. If the child is pretty young, then you can accompany them, but making sure to keep them involved in the process. Doing this with your child will not only help speed up the process, but it will also give you the peace of mind knowing where you child is in the house.
Some other tips for emergency preparedness for kids are simply by keeping them involved with other things to pack. If you have a cat or dog, having them in charge of the leash or blankets for the pet is a simple task for them to handle. You may also want to take the time teaching your children about different types of emergencies. Teaching fire safety to children (or hurricane, tornado, etc.), along with preparedness, will be important for the child to have a good understanding of what is happening around them.
The Fire Station Buddies is an excellent emergency preparedness program that can help teach these skills. These fun adventure books entertain children while teaching them about emergencies. The program will give the child the confidence and know-how of preparing and reacting during an emergency.