3 Things Families Should Do to Prepare for Natural Disasters

On the anniversary of Hurricane Sandy, we’re reminded of the power of Mother Nature and the importance of being prepared after seeing how it affected businesses, families, and children. According to Save the Children, Sandy caused over $50 billion in damage, affected 650,000 homes, and damaged more than 250 child care centers so it’s not surprising that children are still trying to recover from the effects of Sandy a year later. The stress that children faced after Sandy is hard to imagine but with homes lost and belongings destroyed, the absence of routine that are so comforting to kids was gone as they had to live in shelters with strangers without the comforts of home and familiar play things.

As recovery efforts continue and children heal, Save the Children has launched a new campaign called Get Ready. Get Safe to educate families about being safe and empowering communities empower communities to protect kids from disaster. This powerful campaign not only shows the impact Sandy had on children but provides education for parents with actionable items that benefit communities across the nation.

Since no community is safe from natural disasters, here are things you should know to Get Ready. Get Safe before the next one affects your community.

  • Know how your state protects children in child care and schools. Is Your State Ready features an interactive map called the 2013 U.S. Preparedness Map that parents can click on to see how their state stacks up in four areas: a plan for evacuating children in child care, a plan for reuniting families after a disaster, a plan for children with disabilities and those with access and functional needs, and a multi-hazard plan for all K-12 schools. Currently only 28 states
  • Plan ahead to protect your kids from disaster. Get Ready.Get Safe has handy disaster checklists in the form of free downloadable PDFs and posters for parents and child care professionals. The easy to read visual for  families reminds us about the basic information to teach our kids, the need for a communication strategy that doesn’t rely on a cell phone, and essentials kid-friendly food, medical supplies, and personal hygiene items to have on hand at home. The printable for child care professionals features many of the same things as the parent disaster checklist but also highlights the importance of practicing emergency drills, the importance of knowing each child’s special needs and medical needs under their care, and a checklist for items needed in a disaster kit.
  • Know how to talk to your child in an age appropriate way. Their age will determine how much information is appropriate. If you’re nervous talking about the topic, stick to the facts without interjecting your fears and concerns. Kids pick up on our fears and will worry too. If you want to learn more about different kinds of natural disasters through helpful links, read my helpful tips about Teaching Kids About Tornadoes, talking to your children about earthquakes, and earthquakes to educate yourself for when they have questions.

Image courtesy of SavetheChildren.org


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