Last year it was suggested we evacuate our Oceanside home when Irene, then named a hurricane, was approaching. My husband and I probably would have stayed, but since we had our daughter, I wanted to make sure we were in a safer area, just in case. It's funny how your mindset changes when you become a parent.
Thinking back to last year, I realized now how unprepared we were for a real emergency. Sure, we had flashlights and candles, our phones were fully charged and I stocked up on bottled water, but there were many things we didn't do that we should have.
Now with Sandy quickly approaching, it's important to talk to your kids about weather events to help them understand and get them involved in preparing for one.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency launched a site, specifically for kids, to help them plan for emergency situations at ready.gov/kids. Here are some tips for getting your kids involved:
1. Make an emergency plan. Talk it out with your family and learn how to get in touch with each other during an emergency. Gather your family members (including your pets!) for a quick family meeting, maybe over pizza, and talk about what you would do in an emergency if you were not all together. Decide where you would meet, how you would get in contact, what do if the kids are at school and what to do with your pets.
2. Build an emergency supply kit. There are certain things that you should have together in case of a hurricane. Here's what FEMA recommends:
- Water, one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation
- Food, at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
- Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both
- Flashlights and extra batteries
- First aid kit
- Whistle to signal for help
- Dust masks, to help filter contaminated air, and plastic sheeting and duct tape to create a shelter in your home
- Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
- Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
- Can opener for food (if kit contains canned food)
- Local maps
3. Create a family scavenger hunt. Separate your family into two teams with adults and kids on each team (if possible) and assign each group a different list of items. Set a timer and see who comes back first.
Find family games and more tips on preparing your kids for a hurricane on ready.gov/kids.