Recent events have sent shock, anxiety and fear into adults and children. I try to shield my children from most of the world’s turmoil; however they hear about things at school or from friends. How can we, as parents help them understand and combat some of their fear? Empower them with knowledge and a plan.
Fear is caused by the unknown, so let’s eliminate the anxiety by preparing for the worst. This way, the fears are addressed; therefore, minimized. Emergency preparedness is something children can understand, help with, and share their knowledge with others.
Start with a family meeting. Ask your children if they have any concerns about any events that have been going on. Dialogue helps them process what is going on and communicates to you what your kids know. Next make a plan to address their concerns and to be ready for the unknown. Talk as a family about what emergency preparedness is and how in three steps your family can be better prepared for the unknown: Make a plan, get a kit and practice.
STEP ONE: MAKE A PLAN
Create a map of your home and duplicate it for each family member. Mark an escape route for each member of your family. Talk about where you will meet. Use a scenario for why this would be necessary and have them tell you what your plan should be. Then guide their thinking. From toddlers to teens this is important.
FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) has given worksheets to fill out. Go here and print these off to fill out as a family to help simplify things. You do not have to reinvent the wheel, but you do need to cater the plan to your family.
Next, talk about a plan for if you are not home. You need a meeting place, an emergency contact and examples for when this would be necessary.
STEP TWO: GET A KIT
“Kit” has a wide variety of meanings. In the beginning, plan for the bare necessities and think 72 hour kits. Each person should have items under their bed in a bag: flashlight, batteries, water, first-aid kit, radio, food to last 72 hours (this could include MREs, fruit snacks, etc) and a change of clothes. Augason Farms has a premade 72 hour kit you can put in your garage or under your bed. Extra items you could put in a backpack would be extra shoes, a jacket, water, games for little children, diapers if needed, feminine hygiene products, toilet paper, and medicine.
STEP THREE: PRACTICE
This is essential to help everyone understand what to do and when to do it. Twice a year you need to practice your drills. From fire emergencies to earthquakes, your family needs to know what to do during an emergency. If anyone discussed a particular fear in your family meeting, make sure to address those fears and practice for that specific situation.
If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. As a family, plan to be prepared by following these simple steps. It’s as easy as one, two, three.