Mothers, Are You Leaving Your Children Unprepared?
Children Deserve Survival Training
When there’s an emergency, whether storm, earthquake, flooding, or power outage – children go though it just like you do. How prepared are your children to survive? How about your grandchildren?
Little ones may not understand the potential danger of a storm or other emergency, and perhaps they don’t need to. But they CAN be prepared to take action when they recognize certain warning signs.
Emergency Preparedness at School
These days all schools have access to emergency preparedness training through FEMA, the Department of Homeland Security, and the U.S. Department of Education. (Just search for “Emergency Preparedness for Schools” on their websites.) Most schools have and practice emergency procedures.
In fact, our grandchildren (aged 10 and 13) seem to know more about how to respond in an earthquake than their parents do!
However, take these children out of the school setting, and they have no experience in taking care of themselves. These are children who have grown up in the suburbs. They’ve never spent time in the wilderness, never used tools, never hiked more than a couple of blocks! (Don’t get me wrong. They’re smart, and getting a great education. But it doesn’t include any survival skills!)
Action Step: Find out what Emergency Preparedness training your children’s teachers go through, and what drills they and the children participate in. It may reassure you!
What about survival training for younger children?
If your children are home with you all the time, then naturally you will be making decisions for them in the case of an emergency.
Still, you may not be with them all the time! What if the storm hits when your child is:
- At a day-care center
- On a play date at a friend’s house
- At a birthday party or an athletic event where other adults are in charge
- At the movies, at Sunday school, playing in the backyard – the list is endless!
You simply can’t be with your children 24 hours a day. So, what survival skills are you giving them?
A simple emergency preparedness tool for starters!
In 1993, FEMA and the American Red Cross put together a Coloring Book for Children. (Yes, it was created in 1993, so the illustrations are pretty dated . . . but I feel that overall, the coloring book has value.)
Here are five highlights from the coloring book, as I see them:
- Work together. The book is designed to be worked on by an adult and child team. Do you have older children who would find the coloring book silly? Let them be the “adult” in the conversation with the younger child.
- Call 911. Use the coloring book as a tool to teach your child when and how to call 911.
- Family emergency plan. If you haven’t done it yet, use the book as a motivation to identify your “outside meeting place” and your “out-of-area” emergency contact person.
- Survival kits. Discuss – and build! – emergency supply kits for each family member.
- Repeat. The quiz on the last page is a good review.
Action Item: Here’s the link to the book. Click on it and print out the book. It’s 26 pages long, so you probably won’t be going through it all in one sitting.
(Here’s the entire link again, in case you need it: https://s3-us-gov-west-1.amazonaws.com/dam-production/uploads/20130726-1505-20490-1849/color.pdf)
I think this coloring book could be improved by being brought up to date. In fact, I’m ready to do a new version myself, because it seems as though young children still like to color. What suggestions do you have for improving it? Please let me know by using the comment box below.
Virginia – Your Emergency Response Guide Team
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