In my younger years, one of my worst fears in preparedness was for my kids. Lets face it. If you have small kids, it’s a huge vulnerability. You’re forced to, not only trust the public schools and the school teachers, but you are forced to depend on them for protecting your children when you are not there. I believe that you can decrease this vulnerability and enhance your child’s survivability, (if a disaster were to happen) over that of the average person. All it takes is a little bit of home education.
My advice is, while some natural disasters allow us time to prepare, others unfortunately come without warning. Teach your child what to do in the event of natural disasters that threaten your geographic area and visit FEMA’s Ready kid’s channel for age-appropriate emergency preparedness information.
Kids scare me for a lot of reasons: they’re vulnerable, they’re dangerous, and they’re curious as hell. If ever there was a dichotomy of awesomeness and utter disaster, it was children. Without sounding like a Nancy Grace-obsessed helicopter parent, there are basic things our kids need to know to protect themselves from bad people, from injury, and even themselves if a disaster were to strike (when we are not readily around).
1. Basic navigation skills
Listen, no one’s saying your kid needs to be a wizard with maps or able to navigate according to the sun’s position in the sky, but basic directional awareness can help keep them safe. Work with your child to develop navigation skills by allowing them to lead the way out of the shopping mall and back to your parked vehicle or around the neighborhood while you walk the family dog. If you’re shopping and you get separated, have a plan to meet somewhere and make sure your child knows how to get there. If there is a disaster, make sure your child knows what to do and where to meet you. Remember, staying with the pack may not be the safest thing.
2. Their address and phone number
You might think your child knows their address and phone number because they memorized it once upon a time, but he’s not exactly calling himself or writing his address regularly to aid in memorization. It’s important that your child know their home address and phone number in the event that they become separated from you.
3. Basic first aid
Discuss basic first aid with your child, focusing on what to do in the event of minor cuts and scrapes and how to tell the difference between minor or more serious injuries. Basic knowledge of first aid will help your child take better care of themselves and others when injuries occur. They will be the coolest in their peer group when something bad happens too!
4. Know their neighborhood
Your child needs to be familiar with their neighborhood as well as their neighbors and the event of an emergency. Your child also needs to know the neighbors and who to trust and who not to. As I mentioned in a previous post, you need to prepare by forming your neighborhood support group to help out when bad things happen. Your child may be playing with a friend and you may be at the store or at work when disaster hits. Your child needs to know how to get home and who’s house to go to when you’re not available.
These are but a few of many issues that your children need to know. These are the basics. Think tidal wave, earthquake, forest or neighborhood fire, dirty bomb with radiation disbursal, drain derailment with chemical hazard, wide-spread anthrax attack, riot or anarchy, zombie apocalypse, you know what I mean. It may sound crazy, but you need to think of possible scenario’s and how you might cope and still get out of it with your whole family intact. It’s like buying flood insurance for your house…. your neighborhood has never flooded in the last 100 years, your house may never flood. But if it ever does, you are ready and you have a plan! Think sound common sense and what you would want for your child in the chance something bad were to happen. You will not only be fully prepared if the worst were to happen, but you will have more confidence, your kids will be more self assured and self reliant, and you will sleep better in the long run.