Adults tend to think that we can handle everything and of course that means we’ll take care of our kids in an emergency. And, there are some things we may think that kids aren’t ready to handle. Is emergency planning on that list for you? Children actually need, and many want, information about what they should do in an emergency. Kids feel safer when they know what to do. Here’s a list of things to guide your conversation on emergency planning with kids.
Set a place to meet outside your home.
You may designate a trusted neighbor or a shed on your property as a place to meet if there’s an emergency in your home such as a fire or earthquake. If those aren’t practical, designate a nearby street corner as your meeting spot in case you get split up.
Tell your kids who your emergency contact is.
If your contact is Aunt Martha who lives out of state, make sure your kids have her number and know that she is the person who will relay messages. You and your kids should call her in case you get separated, and she will be the point person to relay messages to others so family members aren’t calling back and forth.
Make sure your kids know who is authorized to pick them up from school.
While you’re at it, check that the kids’ emergency contact card is updated with current names, addresses and phone numbers for people you approve to be with your child in an emergency.
Put some toys, games and books in your bug out bag.
Depending on the age of your children, pack a few favorite toys and games or new games to keep them occupied during what might possibly be long stretches without electricity. A pad of paper and a pencil, a deck of cards and pair of dice take up little space and offer many possibilities. Try to include their favorite games and books that are small and compact.
Include some snacks just for kids.
Grownups may be able to eat powdered peanut butter and unsalted crackers all day long, but kids would appreciate having something just for them that they enjoy eating. The stress of emergencies can be difficult on children, so these little things to give them comfort and familiarity really help.
Practice calling 911 with your kids
Don’t actually call 911, but show your kids how your cell phone works and how to make a call. Demonstrate how to make an emergency call if the phone is turned off, if the screen is locked, or there is no reliable cell service.
Read on for more information about planning for emergencies when your household includes children.