How to Prepare Your Family for a Disaster
Natural disasters can happen anywhere, at any time, sometimes without any warning. That's why Mighty Mommy has 7 tips to help your family stay one step ahead of Mother Nature.
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Tip #3: Sign up for Wireless Emergency Alerts
If you sign up at ready.gov/alerts, you’ll get a text message when there’s a warning for weather alerts in your area.
Tip #4: Create an Evacuation Plan
Put the numbers of nearby hotels that can accommodate your family, including your pets, into your contacts. During last January’s blizzard Nemo our family was without power for nearly 4 days so we were grateful to have found a pet-friendly hotel close by that had power and welcomed our two dogs.
Tip #5: Review Your Insurance Policies
Before disaster strikes, take time to review your insurance policies for items that you might need to be covered for in case something happens. These include emergency housing/hotel rooms, food spoilage, flooding, damaged or lost personal items. For families with young children, this is very important because you will be exhausted after dealing with all the unexpected problems that come along with a storm, flood, or fire so the last thing you want to do is hassle with your insurance policy.
See also: How to Document for Homeowners Insurance
Before disaster strikes, take time to review your insurance policies for items that you might need to be covered for in case something happens.
Tip #6: Get Your Kids Involved
Routines help children focus and feel comfortable because they know what to expect, but during a disaster, your family may have to leave your home and depart from your daily routine. Children may become anxious, confused, or frightened. It is important to give children guidance that will help them reduce their fears. In a disaster, they'll look to you and other adults for help. How you react to an emergency gives them clues on how to act. If you react with alarm, your child may become more scared.
The more your children are involved in the process of preparing, the less scared they’ll feel if or when scary things happen. Let them help by going shopping and helping you find sales on canned goods and other non-perishables. Have them prepare their own “emergency backpacks” with items like crayons, books, paper, non-perishable snacks such as granola bars and packaged nuts or dried fruit chews, batteries for their iPods, and low-tech travel games such as playing cards or Yahtzee. Today’s kids are used to a world filled with electronics so if they are going to be without power for several days, they need to have plenty of items to keep them occupied.
Tip #7: Teach Children Basic Personal Information
Both younger children and teenagers should be taught basic personal information before an emergency strikes so they will know how to communicate with others in case of an emergency. Here is the key information to teach them:
- Basic personal information such as their address, phone number and how many family members they have so they can identify themselves and get help if they become separated from a parent or guardian.
- Prepare an emergency card with information for each child, including his/her full name, address, phone number, parents' work number, and a trusted out of state contact.
- Know the policies of the school or daycare center your children attend. Make plans to have someone pick them up if necessary.
- Warn children never to touch wires on poles or lying on the ground.
- Role-play with children to help them remain calm in emergencies and to practice basic emergency responses such as evacuation routes and how to call 911.
- Role-play with children as to what they should do if a parent is suddenly sick or injured.
Do you have an emergency plan ready to go for your family if disaster should strike? Share your thoughts in the comment section or post your ideas on the Mighty Mommy Facebook page. You can also connect with me on Twitter @MightyMommy or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit my family-friendly boards at Pinterest.com/MightyMommyQDT.
No one ever wants to see their precious family suffer a natural (or unnatural) disaster, but if it should happen, taking the steps to be prepared ahead of time could become a matter of life or death. So invest some time now before anything unexpected occurs. Keep smiling and until next time-----Happy Parenting!