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Disaster Prep Tips to Teach Your Kids

Being prepared for a natural disaster can be crucial for you and your family. You can teach your kids several tips as you improve their safety and confidence during a natural disaster.

A girl holding a first aid kit.

Identify Common Disasters

To prepare adequately for the emergencies you and your kids could face, research the types of storms and natural disasters that are common in your area. Your kids can also learn to recognize the signs and potential dangers of common disasters.

While you don't want to scare (frighten?) your kids, this knowledge can empower your children and build up their confidence so that they know when and how to react.

Create and Present an Emergency Plan

An emergency plan outlines the steps your children can take before, during and after a natural disaster. It should include home evacuation steps, the designated meeting location and your family's communication plan.

Create a simple visual chart or checklist and discuss it with your children. Then post the plan in a visible location where the kids will see it often. You'll also want to review the plan often and update it as needed.

Practice, Practice, Practice

Once you create an emergency plan, practice it often. You could pretend that there's a fire in the kitchen or a tornado siren has sounded. These practice drills reveal your family's disaster preparedness and can help to ensure that your kids are ready to confidently and skillfully follow the steps to safety.

Memorize Contact Information

In addition to 911, your kids should know how to contact you, their siblings and your family's out-of-area emergency contact. Ask your kids to memorize these numbers, plus their name and address.

Pack an Emergency Kit

A well-stocked emergency kit includes supplies that can help you and your kids survive a natural disaster. A kit might include water, non-perishable food, first aid kit, prescription medicine, flashlights, batteries, waterproof matches, spare clothing, blankets and toys.

Gather your kids, and work together to pack a kit for each family member. As you pack your kits, teach your kids how to use each item. Then store the kits in an accessible location.

Provide Basic Skill Training

Depending on their ages, your children should know basic skills that can keep them safe and alive during an emergency. For example, train them to turn off utilities properly, perform CPR and use a first aid kit and fire extinguisher.

Discuss School Emergencies

Schools typically conduct emergency drills throughout the school year, but your kids also need your reassurance and reminders to follow directions and to stay calm and quiet.

Discuss school emergency protocols with your child and the school's teachers or administrators, if necessary. On back-to-school night or during parent-teacher conferences, your children can show you emergency exits or the tornado shelter as they demonstrate that they know what to do during a natural disaster or other emergencies.

A natural disaster can strike at any time. Prepare your kids to remain calm and safe when you teach them these tips. You can also reach out to your local emergency response team, insurance agent and community watch team for additional disaster preparedness tips.

Family in the kitchen.

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