By Troy Carney
Emergencies affect the entire family, so including children in preparedness planning makes sense.
Build emergency kits as a family and talk to children about what types of emergencies can happen in the area. Make sure they understand the family emergency plan and their roles. Preparing children for emergencies is important to their safety and emotional wellbeing.
Below are some ideas for including children in emergency preparedness planning:
— Discuss weather patterns to develop hazard awareness.
— Make it fun. Create a list together and have a scavenger hunt to gather supplies for your emergency kit. Make children familiar with where the kit is stored.
— Establish a family meeting place and ensure everyone knows exactly where it is. Develop an evacuation procedure as a family so children understand where to go and why.
— Identify trusted people to assist children until the family reconnects. Develop a communications procedure as a family by writing down all the phone numbers everyone will need as well as how to get in touch with each other when separated.
— Practice family emergency plans regularly. Teach children what to do as a family in different emergency situations and let them ask questions and give their opinions regarding a plan’s effectiveness.
Visit the Ready Army website at https://ready.army.mil/ to find age-appropriate preparedness activities for children.
Call the Fort Leonard Wood Emergency Management Office at 573.563.5606 for more information about preparing for disasters or to request materials.
(Editor’s note: Carney is the installation emergency manager.)