Written by John Ricketts, director of disaster services for Feed the Children
In the U.S., we are officially in the swing of disaster season with the potential of many natural calamities such as flooding, tornadoes, and hurricanes. For many families, this season can cause a lot of anxiety. However, you can alleviate some of that stress by being prepared, not scared! Join us as we give some tips on how to prepare your family for any disaster that comes your way.
1) Create a plan with your family.
Whether it’s possible tornadoes, floods or crippling winter weather, families need to be prepared for the worst. When families are proactive in planning for possible disasters, it can help reduce chaos during the situation. Every plan should include evacuation routes, emergency numbers, shelter possibilities and a communication strategy.
2) Build a disaster kit.
A disaster kit may be different for each family. However, each kit should have basics items such as bottled water, non-perishable snacks, flashlights, batteries, sanitation items, important documents and first aid kits. For children, they may want to have extra school supplies to keep them busy, comfort items such as blankets and stuffed animals, and their favorite book.
3) Practice the plan.
When a family practices their disaster plan, it can help ease the mind of the child and the parent. Practicing evacuation routes, where to go for shelter and memorizing emergency numbers will help strengthen the family plan.
4) Stay informed.
Staying safe during a natural disaster is a family’s number one priority. To keep your family safe, you need to stay informed. When a major disaster is impending or has occurred, it is advised that everyone should have a reliable resource for emergency alerts, such as phone apps and an emergency radio with batteries. Checking social media may also help with finding shelters, best evacuation routes and accessing local damage.
5) Tackle storm anxiety head on.
Creating a plan is the first step in tackling potential storm anxiety. However, if a child is still left feeling anxious of the unknown, it’s best to talk it out as a family. Allowing a child to talk through their fears and concerns could help the parents adjust the plan to fit their needs. Education is key to helping children face the unknown.