Posts Tagged ‘ natural disasters ’

3 Things Families Should Do to Prepare for Natural Disasters

Tuesday, October 29th, 2013

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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Teaching Kids About Tornadoes and Helping Others

Tuesday, May 21st, 2013

Chances are if you’ve been keeping up with the news about the tornado damage following yesterday’s twister that caused widespread devastation in Moore, Oklahoma, your kids are probably asking questions about tornadoes. It’s a great time to seize upon the teachable moment for a science lesson about tornadoes and to talk about ways your family might be able to help those affected.

What is a tornado? The definition of what a tornado is should depend on the age of your child. According to Weather WizKids, a tornado is a “violent rotating column of air extending from a thunderstorm to the ground.” Younger children need simple explanations with concrete examples so illustrate this by rotating a household funnel. National Geographic Kids has an easy to understand video for kids called Forces of Nature: Tornadoes 101. Older children will want more in-depth information and may have questions about tornado-related vocabulary that can be answered through the glossary of tornado terms on EnchantedLearning.com.

Are there different types of tornadoes? Yes, there various kinds and shapes of tornadoes. Tornadoes can also appear to be different colors! The different or kinds of tornadoes and their cousins are described on The Weather Channel Kids! and pictures of some types of tornadoes can be found on ThinkQuest.org.

How does it form? Tornadoes form in complex weather conditions, usually when two large air masses of varying temperatures collide. RiaNovosti has a great graphic showing tornado formation but younger ages will probably understand the animation of formation and destruction of a tornado on ThinkQuest.org.

What’s more dangerous? A hurricane or a tornado? According to Scholastic.com, hurricanes take days to develop whereas tornadoes tend to develop quickly but it’s hard to determine which is more dangerous.

Will a tornado hit where we live? It depends. According to National Earth Science Teachers Association’s Windows to the  Universe site, 75% of tornadoes happen in the United States. Most of these occur in the Great Plains, a place that weather watchers call “Tornado Alley.” Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota, Iowa, Missouri, Arkansas, and Louisiana comprise Tornado Alley and while tornadoes are common in these states, it does not mean that they can’t occur in other states.

Are we safe? It’s always a good idea to make sure everyone in your family knows your emergency plan for any disaster that could strike. The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Ready.gov page on tornadoes has information about how to prepare before a tornado, what to do if your area is under a tornado warning, and what to do after. Ready.gov’s Family Emergency Plan is a free, printable PDF that can be filled out so family member’s names, healthcare information, etc. is in one place and easiy accessible.

How can we help? Not only is a great time to teach your kids about tornadoes and review your family emergency plan, but it’s an excellent time to reinforce charitable acts by figuring out how you can help. Type A Parents’ How to Help the Oklahoma Tornado Victims by Kelby Carr shares ways families can offer assistance. Talk as a family and choose a method that works well for you or come up with a strategy to raise money for those affected.

Tornado about to make damage via Shutterstock

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