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Posted February 28, 2011 | comments Leave a comment

Families and disaster preparedness

Unfortunately, natural disasters happen everywhere in the state; whether they be flood, fire, tornado or other catastrophes. They are scary and unpredictable. It is our job to prepare for them the best that we can. Not only do adults need to have a role in emergency preparedness, but children need to as well.

As adults we become scared and stressed when a disaster strikes; so think about how your children are feeling. Even though adults handle most of the arrangements such as getting the family to safety, gathering supplies and properly storing important documents, children sense the tension and know that something is wrong. To learn more about helping your child deal with stress, refer to this VCE publication http://pubs.ext.vt.edu/350/350-054/350-054.pdf. To help your children cope with disaster, sit down with them before there is an event and make a family game plan, letting everyone know what to do.

Include children by letting them help you put together a disaster supplies kit consisting of nonperishable foods, clean drinking water, a battery powered radio, first aid kit, blankets, soap and pet supplies (if there is a pet). Allow them to pack a small comfort item, such as a stuffed animal, baby blanket or a photograph; something this small can really help with a child's mental state during and after an emergency. Children should also know where the family meeting place is and how to get in touch with one another should you happen to get separated.

Disasters affect both adults and children in different ways; but having a game plan will help everyone recuperate and get back to normal when it is over. Be sure to include your children in the preparation for an emergency to help them feel safe and part of the family team. Refer to this VCE publication for checklists and emergency preparedness information http://pubs.ext.vt.edu/2903/2903-7023/2903-7023.pdf .


Other Sources Of Information:
CDC, Emergency Preparedness and Response. Be Informed, American Red Cross. http://www.bt.cdc.gov/preparedness/mind/middleschool/


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