As someone who is well past child-bearing age, I usually tend to overlook the importance of addressing survival and preparedness methods for families with young kids. That being said, when it involves kids, three words come to mind: safety, security, and comfort.
As adults, I feel it’s our duty to introduce kids to preparedness activities at a young age. This needs to be done in a fun, however serious manner, so as to avoid fear. The last item we want to do is introduce a boogie man once there is none!
Over the years, I have always treated young children as mini-adults with a capability to rationalize, understand, and feel the emotions and body language of the adults around them. I really like that kids are fresh and unspoiled by life and it’s failures. For no other reason than that, I wish to share my thoughts on preparedness for families with very little ones under the roof.
Twelve Tips for Families with Children
- Include kids in family preparedness discussions. Explain what you’re talking about in a calm, assured manner and answer questions honestly and easily. Focus the conversation on the security problems that will ensure their survival.
- Regardless of their age, teach young kids to memorize basic personal information like full name, address, phone number, and the names of their parents or guardians. This may be invaluable in the event they become separated from their family following a disaster.
- Learn the disaster response policies of you child’s school or daycare center. Make sure to establish a backup plan so that somebody is available to pick them up and/or care for them if you’re unable to do so. A good idea would be to own the backup person check on them, regardless, just to make sure. After all, you’ll be hurt and unable to call the backup person yourself.
- Ensure the school or daycare center always has current emergency contact info for your kids. They must also have a list of persons licensed to pick your kids up from school. The final thing you want is for a kidnapper to take advantage of the chaos and snatch your kid away for some nefarious reason.
- Establish more than one family meeting site and ensure you kid knows where it’s. This will facilitate if you can not return to your home.
- Establish an out-of-state contact person and ensure that your kid and the school knows a way to reach this person. Keep in mind that although local phone lines could also be down, long distance circuits often are working following a disaster.
- Teach your kids how to use 9-1-1 and apply what they should tell the dispatcher when they do call.
- Educate your kids relating to the need to stay away from downed trees, downed utility poles and any wires that may be lying on the ground. Also teach them to recognize the smell of gas and – this is vital – to inform an adult they smell gas even if they’re not 100% certain. Include directions to get outdoors and leave the home or building if they even think they smell gas.
- Practice evacuation strategies and evacuation routes as a family project. Build an outing of it and while you don’t need to diminish the importance of the practice mission, make it fun as well.
- If you live in an earthquake or different natural disaster zone, teach them basic responses such as Drop, Cover and Hold or Stop, Drop and Roll.
- Prepare a mini bug-out-bag for each kid. Include a family image, a toy, and a game, book or puzzle to keep him or her occupied. Also include some treats.
- In the adult/family bug-out-bag, include copies of the children’s birth certificates, recent photos and extra kiddie comfort foods.
One thing I used to hate when I was a child was grown-ups talking regarding something and assuming that I was either not interested or worse, unable to know. In reality, I had an innate curiosity and even though I only understood half what the adults were saying, I still soaked it up like a sponge.
With that in mind, I cannot thinking about a better situation for including your kids than a family discussion about planning for an emergency of survival scenario.