Take a minute and ask yourself whether or not you feel completely comfortable dropping your child off at school, or a friend’s house, or the mall.
Children spend approximately 25% of their time away from home. This percentage grows as they get older and become more interested in their friends. Would your child know what to do if an emergency struck away from home?
Starting an emergency plan is important for all families and age groups. The younger a child is when he/she is taught about emergency planning, the better things will go in the event of a disaster. Please keep in mind that emergency planning is not exclusive to giant attacking monsters or the earth freezing over. Make sure you include minor calamities in your emergency plan such as cuts, power outages, bug bites, CPR, etc.
Planning is an extremely broad topic, which can make it stressful. Start small and cover the basics first. There’s nothing wrong with working up to more critical subjects. Read the list below for ideas on what to include in your child’s emergency plan. In the event of an emergency, make sure he/she isn’t left stranded.
• Make sure your child knows to dial 911 in an emergency
• If an emergency occurs, where will you meet if separated? Who will you trust?
• Cover topics like stranger danger, bug bites, and cuts
• Discuss what to do in major disasters like earthquakes or floods
• Provide your child with a 72-hour kit, change, and a phone card
• Make sure your child knows your contact information and consider providing him/her with an emergency cell phone with alternative contact numbers
• Pre-arrange to have an alternate care-taker who is willing to care for your child if you are not available
• Have your child keep a small emergency supply kit at school. This kit should include a flashlight, a radio, water, and a poncho or mylar blanket.
Knowing your child is safe and cared for will allow you to keep a clear head so you can make responsible, intelligent decisions in a time of crisis. Prepare your child to understand what to do if you are not around. Teaching your child a broad range of emergency preparedness techniques will prepare him/her for greatest emergency of all – the one he/she is forced to face alone.
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