Trade in your swimsuit and sunscreen for a backpack and school books. For many across the nation, school is starting this month!
Since your children spend so much time at school, it’s important for them to know what to do in an emergency if they are in class when it occurs. For example, would they know where to meet you? How to contact you? How to avoid danger?
All of these items are important aspects of emergency preparedness and as a parent, you can help your children be prepared for any situation that might come their way. Here are a few tips that can help you prepare your kids for the coming school year:
1. Meeting Place
Does your family have a meeting location? Choose a location that is well known to your family that they could meet in after an emergency. Choose a place that they could walk to. If there were a natural disaster, the school would most likely keep track of your children until they could guarantee that you were picking them up.
You might also consider placing an emergency two-way radio in a pocket of your child’s backpack that they would use only for emergencies. That way they would be able to get in contact with you directly.
Many times a disaster will knock out parts of the communication network. Even if the network hasn’t been knocked out, it’s often bogged down with the majority of people checking in on their loved ones. A text message is an easy way to let others know that you are OK. A text message will send easier during an emergency than a phone call.
3. Stranger Danger
Not all emergencies are natural disasters. Be sure to review with your children rules about talking to strangers. They should know the 1-2 designated people that you trust. They should also know how to say no to a stranger.
Often, malicious strangers will pose as authoritative figures to persuade children. Be sure that your child understands that they can trust their teacher and school officials. Make sure you trust them too.
If hand sanitizer commercials have taught us anything, it’s that germs spread at school. Consider purchasing a travel-size bottle of hand sanitizer that your child can attach to their backpack. Also consider sending them with a water bottle so they don’t have to use the school drinking fountains.
5. Emergency Pack
Prepare an emergency bag of contents for your child. Encourage their teacher to organize the students to all do the same. Included in the bag would be some light emergency items like a pouch of water, some freeze-dried food, extra medication they might need and some identification and contact information.
6. Identification Pack
Work with the school staff to keep some identification at the school. For example, include a family photo in your child’s file so that if a stranger tries to pose as a parent and take your child out of school for the day, the staff will easily be able to notice. Make sure that your contact information is up to date so that if the school needs to contact you, they can.
7. Make It Fun
There are many online resources that you can use to teach your children about emergency preparedness. FEMA has a webpage with comics, crosswords, wordsearches and more that each teach children about emergency preparedness.
What have you used?
How have you taught your children about emergency preparedness? Comment below and share your insights and how to teach children!