How to Best Prepare Your Children For Home Emergencies
by SSF | Last Updated Apr. 2nd, 2012
All people want to feel safe and secure but unexpected things can come up in life, and it is essential to prepare children for home emergencies. They need to know the necessary steps for safety, and in some cases, survival skills. Some of the emergency situations to cover with children are:
Severe weather – tornadoes, floods, etc.
Accidents – severe illness emergencies
Intruders or Home Invasion
Children at all ages can be educated and trained on how to react and what to do if an emergency situation comes up. Age appropriate discussions can take place to make certain a child has a plan to follow. Most emergency situations can be handled when a child has an action plan to use. Knowing what to do can make a huge difference in an emergency.
One of the first and most important steps of training for an emergency is to create a sense of calmness and responsible behavior to encourage logical and practical thinking. For example, a 4 year old can learn to dial 911 and seek out a responsible adult by practicing the action over and over. However, a 14 year old could be taught to do much more. Each situation and each age group has a different set of possibilities, as well as challenges.
Repeated practice of an action plan is the single most important feature of a family emergency plan. Children, as well as adults, need to know what they are to do, where they are to go and any other action that is important for the situation. For example, a fire plan requires that a safe retreat takes place as well as a meet up spot for all family members to gather. This way each knows the other has reached a safe haven. A safe place can even be marked with a family memento for small children to remember to go to.
Weather emergency situation are easier to plan for in advance. Flashlights, candles, water and food can be gathered in advance and placed in the meeting place. Blankets and an extra change of comfortable clothing is another good idea to have in place. Often a family will use a basement, cellar or underground location to seek refuge from tornados and the elements. Having food and emergency supplies in place makes the safe haven more comfortable and easier to use.
Water emergency situations can often be prevented by advanced preparation and practicing water safety. It is always a good idea for parents to lead by example when it comes to water safety for children. Using flotation devices, life vests and safe boats is very important for children to witness and learn. If a child sees adults taking chances in and around water they will often do the same thing. Learning water safety can be an early habit for children to form.
The most basic practice parents can introduce children to is using 911 emergency services. Having preventative measures in place also can add to security and safety. Smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors and fire extinguishers are a must for all homes and living areas. All family members need to be taught a healthy respect for an alarm and know to exit the home and call 911 for emergency services.
Home invasions can be reduced by the use of alarm systems and security locks on homes. Children need to learn to not admit strangers into a home and have a safe spot or exit plan should an invasion take place. Most tragic situations occur because there is not a plan in place and panic takes over. Taking the time to learn and practice emergency evacuation procedures can enable a family to have greater security and comfort in their home.