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Preparedness Tips for Families with Children

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Dealing with survival and preparedness issues when there are young children in the household can be a challenge.

Not only must parents and caregivers deal with their own stressful circumstances, they must also deal with the fears and emotions of young ones who may not fully understand the chaos and the changes that are going on around them.  Believe it – children can rationalize and feel the emotions and body language of the adults around them.

With that in mind, today I wanted to share my thoughts on doing the very best that you can to prepare your children in a calm, productive and  safe manner.

A Dozen Preparedness Tips for Families

1.  Include children in family preparedness discussions.  Explain what you are talking about in a calm, assured manner and answer questions honestly and simply.  Focus the conversation on the safety issues that will insure their survival.

2. Regardless of their age, teach young children to memorize their basic personal information such as full name, address, telephone number, and the names of their parents or guardians.  This will be invaluable in the event they become separated from their family following a disaster.

3.  Learn the disaster response policies of you child’s school or daycare center.  Be sure to establish a backup plan so that someone is available to pick them up and/or care for them if you are unable to do so.  A good idea would be to have the backup person check on them, regardless, just to be sure.  (After all, you may be hurt and unable to call the backup person yourself.)

4.  Make sure the school or daycare center has current emergency contact information for your children.  They should also have a list of persons authorized to pick your children up from school.  The last thing you want is for a kidnapper to take advantage of the chaos and snatch your child away for some nefarious reason.

5. Establish more than one family meeting site and make sure your child knows where it is.  This will help if you cannot return to your home.

6. Establish an out-of-state contact person and make sure that your child and the school knows how to reach this person.  Remember that although local phone lines may be down, long distance circuits often will be working following a disaster.

7.  Teach your children how to use 911 and practice what they should say to the dispatcher when they do call.

8. Educate your children regarding the need to stay away from downed trees, downed utility poles and any wires that may be lying on the ground.  Also teach them to recognize the smell of gas and – this is important – to tell an adult they smell gas even if they are not 100% sure.  Include instructions to get outdoors and leave the home or building if they even think they smell gas.

9. Practice evacuation strategies and evacuation routes as a family project.  Make an outing of it and while you don’t want to diminish the importance of the practice mission, make it fun as well.

10. If you live in an earthquake or other natural disaster zone, teach them basic responses such as Drop, Cover and Hold or Stop, Drop and Roll.

11. Prepare a mini Go-Bag for each child.  Include a family picture, a toy, and a game, book or puzzle to keep him or her occupied.  Also include some treats.

12. In the adult/family Go-Bag, include copies of the children’s birth certificates, recent photos and additional kiddie comfort foods.

Summing it All Up

A common mistake while prepping is to place too much emotional responsibility on the shoulders of children.  It is our job as adults to help them so that when things do not go as planned, they can understand and behave in a proper manner.  Do not assume that the kids are not interested or worse, unable to understand. In reality, they have an innate curiosity and even though they may only understand a fraction of what you share with them, they will soak it up like a sponge.

With that in mind, I cannot think of a better situation for including your children than a family discussion about planning for an emergency or survival situation.

If you would like to read more from Gaye Levy, check out her blog at http://www.backdoorsurvival.com/.  Gaye started Backdoor Survival to share her angst and concern about our deteriorating economy and its impact on ordinary, middle-class folks.  She also wanted to become a prepper of the highest order and to share her knowledge as she learned it along the way.  She considers her sharing of knowledge her way of giving back and as always, we at Absolute Rights are grateful for her contributions.

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  • SchemaByte says:

    Good deal... especially #6, I haven't done that and will do. Don't forget the diapers and such for the young ones.

    I think the best way to prep kids and help them learn how to use survival gear is to do family camping trips, which has the added advantage of preventing them from becoming too completely wired into the consumerism machine.

  • James McDonald says:

    I taught my kids growing up that their mind is the best weapon and survival tool. Thinking for yourself keeps you from following the masses over the clif. I taught them on how to cam;p at home inside and outside, so when we had those three hurricanes in a row, we had to camp inside. No power from outside, so they(my kis) were shown how to hook up a couple of solar panels, deep cycle batteries, using a generator/ And how to trade 2 liter frozzen bottles of ice for gas. A couple of friends told me that it would never happen! So now my kids growm up know how to prepare and to survive. You can't hide what is going on from the kids, they know what is going on!

  • Tris2013 says:

    Excellent suggestions. Many disasters, especially natural ones, can occur suddenly and without warning, giving little if any time to prepare.

    Survival depends, in many cases, on quick decision making, the ability to react in an "auto pilot" manner, along with coordinated planning and cooperation.

    I believe that no kid should graduate high school, without certifications in first aid, Heimlich maneuver, CPR, and infection prevention/disease transmission.

  • Tris2013 says:

    One other thing that I would like to see; is a two semester (one year) required course, to be a part of all 4 year+ degree programs, consisting of: disaster preparedness, basic (and possibly intermediate) survival skills, and advanced knowledge of first aid and infection prevention/disease transmission.

  • […] main article comes from contributor Gaye Levy, and it focuses on keeping all members of a family involved in […]

  • Elizabeth Marie Dawson-Boragno says:

    Kids are innocent and vulnerable, they must have supervision at all times in till the age of 18. Some children don't grow up as fast as others due to their life experience and faith background. I think children should be kept in the loop to a point so that they are aware of pitfalls and dangers in this world. Not saying that they should be exposed to media and television 24/7 but just informed of everyday occurrences.


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