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Disaster Preparedness for Kids

by Ronald A. Rowe | August 30th, 2012 | Elementary

Wherever you live you face the possibility of some type of disaster – natural or otherwise – that could potentially displace your family. Here we have the specter of hurricanes, but it could be tornados, earthquakes, terrorist attacks, zombie apocalypse, or whatever. Wherever you are and whatever your potential disaster, there are some common steps that we can all take to prepare our children for the unexpected.

You’ve got the canned food and water and flashlights and batteries, but your children should have a kit of their own as well. For the just in case situation that you might be displaced from your home for a period of time, each child should have his or her own stash of emergency supplies.

The best way to store an emergency kit is in a five gallon plastic bucket. You can even make a project of things by getting your children involved in the process. We had our elementary children decorate their own buckets with markers.

Important items to place in the bucket include a toothbrush, toothpaste, assorted toiletries, and a full change of clothes. Be sure to leave some room for your kids to pack a game and a couple of toys. Remind them that this is to put away for a long time (hopefully forever) so they shouldn’t be packing away a favorite toy that they’ll miss and be tempted to break out. A deck of cards or a Madlibs pad is always a good choice.

Once the kit is ready, lock the top and pack the bucket away somewhere safe but accessible. The back of the child’s closet or a corner of the garage usually works. With any luck, the bucket will sit unused for a long time. Remember to make an annual event of updating the kit. At the very least you’ll need to switch out the clothes each year as your child outgrows the emergency backups.

One last word of advice on the subject – talk to your kids about the need to prepare without scaring them. You don’t want to fill your children’s heads so full of the disastrous possibilities that you horrify them into worrying every time the wind blows. Make sure that your children understand both the reason for the kit and the extreme unlikelihood of ever having to use it.

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