None of us would consider going on any kind of road trip without a spare tire. Few women would entertain leaving the house without their purse. Just in case. If you are low on Band-Aids at your house, you stock up, just in case. Yet often the same people can’t see the need to prepare for a disaster, just in case. Go figure.
A really great resource is FEMA’s “Fun For Kids” link. Go to www.ready.gov/kids. There are games, exercises, puzzles and even a scavenger hunt to get the kids involved in being prepared. Even a section for parents and another for teachers. Every child needs their own kit and this will help include them in the conversation. Kids like to be a part of what’s going on with preparations. To them it’s like getting ready to go camping. In fact when you do go camping, take their kit along as a sort of shake-down cruise to see whether or not you’ve missed anything.
Back to the FEMA page, a couple of games will have your kiddos sharpening their skills in no time. “Disaster Master” takes your kids through several different types of disaster with an interactive approach to learning about preparing for wildfires, tornados, blackouts, earthquakes and more. Then the “Build a Kit” game provides the kids with choices of what to put in their kit. Lots of fun and very educational for the kids.
Each child should have their own backpack with extra clothes, flashlight, games, and other items they would need in the event of a disaster. Use your judgement in supplying age-appropriate items such as a pocket knife, hatchet or fire-starting implements. And remember to keep it positive! Do your best to keep out the fear-factor. Keep in mind you don’t have a spare tire because you’re afraid, you have it “just in case.”
Finally there is a bit on WEAs. Wireless Emergency Alerts are emergency messages sent to cell phones by authorized government agencies to let you know about dangerous weather conditions, emergencies, and other local hazards. Check out this fun and very informative website.
As always contact me with your questions or comments at firstname.lastname@example.org. Previous columns can be found on my blog at www.blogspot.com. Dave Robinson is the Postmaster in Bandon, Oregon, and the author of “Disaster Prep For The Rest Of Us”.