Kids can help family prepare for hurricanes, disasters
The onset of hurricane season is an important time for families to get ready for disasters, and parents can enlist their children to help get ready by assembling a family disaster preparedness kit, says LSU AgCenter child and family development specialist Becky White.
"People – including children – cope best with disaster when they work together to prepare for emergencies and disasters," White says. "All family members should know what to do in the event of a hurricane or other emergency."
The American Red Cross suggests every family develop a disaster supply kit that should have enough supplies for three days and include a family disaster plan and emergency contacts list.
"Parents should talk to their children about the importance of being prepared for a disaster like a hurricane and discuss what their family would do," White says. She suggests parents and children work together to assemble a family disaster supply kit that should contain the following:
•Family disaster plan.
•Family emergency contacts list.
•A three-day supply of nonperishable foods.
•A three-day supply of water, including 1 gallon per person per day for drinking, washing and preparing food.
•First aid supplies, including bandages, antibiotics, first aid manual, thermometer, pain relievers and prescription medication.
•Simple tools and supplies, such as a radio, flashlights, can opener, utility knife, batteries and scissors.
•General supplies to stay comfortable, safe and entertained, such as games, books, children’s favorite toys, paper, pencils, blankets, hygiene supplies, matches, toilet paper, garbage bags and disinfectant.
•Pet supplies if needed.
"Developing and having a family disaster supply kit ready in the event of a disaster is a proactive way to teach your children about family safety and may give your child some sense of comfort and control," White says.
When a disaster does strike, giving kids a task to complete can help to easy their anxiety. This could mean testing all of the flashlights and replacing batteries as needed, putting together snack bags for family members, or even occupying younger children while you are working on preparations.
If kids want to learn more about potential storms or disasters, help them explore the Weather Wiz Kids site at www.weatherwizkids.com. The site is run by meteorologist and journalist Crystal Wicker, who covered Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.
The site answers common questions that children ask about weather events and discusses how weather in works in language that is easy for young kids to understand.
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