Disasters can strike quickly and without any warning. While such events are often frightening for adults, they can be traumatic for children if they don't know what to do or understand what's happening. Children are better able to adapt to situations when they know what to expect. By creating a family disaster plan and disaster supply kit, you can help children be ready to deal with emergencies.
Before creating a family disaster plan, sit down with your children and help them understand the concept of a disaster. Explain what disasters are and provide examples of disasters that could happen in your community. Talk about the typical effects of a disaster that children can relate to, such as loss of electricity, water, and telephone service. Emphasize and explain that by creating a family disaster plan and disaster supply kit, your family will be better prepared and able to handle emergencies.
Create a family disaster plan and supply kit as a family. Teach children how, when and who to call for help. Hold emergency escape drills and identify a common meeting point. Ask children to think of items that they would like to include in their own disaster supply kits, such as books or games or appropriate non-perishable food items. Finally, quiz children every few months to help them remember what to do in an emergency.
For additional information on creating a disaster plan and supply kit, visit Jefferson County Homeland Security and Emergency Management's booth at the Jefferson County Fair Aug. 18-24 or call 304-724-8914. The Disaster Ready Kids Program 2013 is also underway for schools and daycares until Sept. 30. This program is designed to teach children about home safety and what to do during storms and disasters. Age appropriate activity books to help children prepare for disasters will also be available at the fair booth.