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April 13, 2017

Did you know that preparing your family for an emergency is a component of child abuse prevention? It’s important for families, especially children, to be prepared for a disaster, including fire, earthquake, flood, or tornado, and or even something as simple as a power outage. Involving kids in planning can help them to feel more safe and secure in the event of an emergency.

Here are a few ways to help your family prepare for an emergency, from www.childwelfare.gov:
• Learn how you’ll be notified. Knowing what form of communication your family can rely on is important, such as radio and TV, sirens, digital road signs, phone calls, or text messages. Pay attention to test signals, such as monthly test tornado sirens, to know what to look out for in the event of a real emergency. For more information, visit https://www.ready.gov/alerts
• Make an emergency supplies kit. By preparing a kit before you need it, you’ll make sure that it’s ready in case of an emergency. Included in the kit can be nonpersiable food, clothing supplies, and items for basic medical care, as well as any prescriptions or necessary medications. Experts recommend having supplies for at least 3 days, and to have a kit at home, at work, and in your car. The CDC has recommendations on what else to include which can be visited at https://emergency.cdc.gov/prepardness/kit/disasters/index.asp
• Be prepared on where to find shelter. This may mean staying in your home or building, but may also mean evacuation. In the event of shelter in place, such as for tornados or winter storms, it’s safer to stay in your home than seek evacuation. Designate a safe room (or basement) in your home where your family can watch TV, listen to the radio, or check online for updates.
• Be prepared to evacuate. For some emergencies, like fire or flood, it is not safe to stay in place. Make sure everyone in your family knows where to evacuate to, and plan out routes and meeting locations in the event of an evacuation. Keeping your gas tank full and an emergency kit in your car in event of an evacuation.
• Plan for how your family will communicate. Though scary to think about, your family may not be together when disaster strikes. By having a plan before hand, you can ensure that the whole family is on board with meeting places and communication. By designating a friend or extended family (preferably outside of the local area), you can contact this person to have the whole family “check in” with them to make sure everyone is safe.
• Practice your plan. For children, it can help to practice a drill of evacuation much like fire or safety drills in school. Review how you would evacuate, where you would meet if separated, and other safety plans.

By taking a few steps now, you can help to make kids feel safe and secure in an emergency.