We’ve been writing a lot about Hurricane Preparedness this season. While it has been a relatively quiet season, we are far from being in the clear – yet. It is extremely important to have a plan for before, during and after a major storm. Below are some steps to keep your children and aging family members safe.
Have a Plan
Whether it is with an elderly family member or children make sure you have a plan. Discuss disaster plans with them often and frequently. Give them tasks to get them involved, but keep them concise and simple. Make sure all family members know what they are responsible for and post your disaster and evacuation plans somewhere around the house. If you must leave your home, have at least three locations mapped out to where you can go. I always recommend a shelter, friend or family’s house and hotel or motel.
Emergency Kits and Medicine
If you don’t have to evacuate, make sure you have sufficient enough supplies for each family member. At a minimum you should have one gallon of water for each person per day. We recommend a minimum of a five-day water supply. Make sure also have enough water for your pets. Check your canned and boxed, non-perishable items for expiration dates every 6 months.
If you must evacuate, make sure you have an emergency kit for each vehicle and an extra one to take with you into the shelter or the temporary location you will staying at. Make sure medicine and is clearly labeled and separated for each family member. Don’t forget the Flintstone vitamins for the kids!
As hard as it might seem during a disaster try to keep their routine the same as much as you can. If your children would typically have recess at school at 11am, try to do something active with them every day around that time. During a disaster some children may not be able to express their emotions. Encourage them to draw a picture about how they feel.
Elderly family members are also dependent on routines. Try to keep medicine and meals consistent as possible. Daily activities and socializing is also very important. Packing a game board or a deck of cards can help keep everybody occupied during the down time.
Children and elderly family members can easily sense fear and anxiety. Try to stay calm during an evacuation or a disaster. They will look to you to see how to act. If they sense your stress they will react the same way. If your household is properly prepared it will be much easier to stay calm. Taking 5 minutes every month to discuss your household emergency plan and what could happen will reduce stress and anxiety for every family member.