The best way to deal with emergency situations effectively and as seamlessly as possible is by being proactive and preparing ahead of time. Involving children in preparing and planning for emergency situations can help them cope and properly respond in the event of an emergency. Emergency preparedness can help the entire family to respond to a crisis without fear and increase the odds of surviving the situation without harm.
A crisis or emergency can take many forms and it might feel overwhelming trying to prepare for them all. Here are some basic tips for helping children with general emergency preparedness:
- Talk to your children about a variety of possible emergency situations. Be honest, open, and willing to answer their questions with the intent to educate them not scare them.
- Create emergency plans together or share the plans that you have in the case of an emergency. Getting your children involved and keeping them informed will help them to feel prepared, and they'll know what to expect if an emergency happens.
- Practice your emergency plans on a regular basis by doing drills, giving "pop quizzes," and surprising them with unexpected obstacles or otherwise throwing a wrench in your plans.
Next, consider what kind of supplies you need in a variety of emergency situations. In different situations, you might benefit for different supplies, but here are some basics to get you started:
- Food. Your emergency food supply should consist of nonperishables. FEMA suggests a two-week supply, and they also recommend foods high in calories and nutrition. It's also important to check expiration dates regularly and maintain a supply of disposable plates and utensils. Don't forget a manual can opener and food for your pet, too.
- Water. Water access may be limited in some emergencies. Just like with your emergency food supply, a two-week supply of water should cover most emergency situations. If you're not sure how much that is FEMAsuggests a gallon per day per person.
- Blankets and clothing. Have warm blankets for family members and at least one change of clothing per person, though having three days' worth of clothing is ideal.
- Flashlights and batteries. Make sure to have flashlights and extra batteries with your emergency supplies. This emergency supply has the highest chance of being used in the most situations. Even minor emergencies sometimes cause homes to lose power briefly.
- Toiletries. Feminine hygiene products, diapers and wipes, toothbrushes, and other toiletries might be easily overlooked when packing emergency supplies. Keep extras with your other supplies so you don't have to go looking for them in applicable situations.
- First aid kit. Having a basic first aid kit is an important part of being prepared, and it enables you to deal with minor medical issues during an emergency.
Dealing with emergencies with children can add extra stress for adults. A great way for everyone to feel empowered and better respond in these situations is to be prepared and involve the children in getting prepared.