10 Quick Tips to Get Ready for a Disaster
Two years ago, the news of Hurricane Sandy was starting to emerge. Living in the Northeast, these types of storms are something we don’t really pay much mind to. At the very most, most thought we would get some outer laying rain and wind like usual. As time went on, it was clear things were taking a turn for the worst. Two storms were going to converge, right here in New Jersey. Prior to Hurricane Sandy, I never felt the need to go over board with any sort of storm preparation. In fact, I don’t even carry around wipes or extra clothes with me most of the time. When the lights went out around 9pm on October 29th, 2012 my heart sank. This was it. The weathermen were right. I felt like a fool for not being prepared. With two young children, ages 4 and almost 2, what was I thinking?
Save the Children’s recent disaster report included a poll that shows most of us are still not nearly as prepared as we could be to protect our children from disaster. We hope to use this moment to help remind parents how important their actions are!
Wednesday, Oct. 29 is the 2-year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy’s U.S. landfall. Sandy affected 24 states, killed 162 people, caused more than $50 million in damage and damaged or destroyed 650,000 homes and hundreds of child care centers and schools. It was the day that life turned upside down for thousands of children who suddenly lost everything – including their very sense of stability. Save the Children is still working with many of these children to help them rebound.
So what can YOU do?
Help motivate families to get prepared, so that children are better protected from disaster.
– Save the Children’s recent poll shows that 49% of U.S. parents don’t feel the very prepared to protect their children from disaster.
– 51% don’t think their child’s school or child care center is very prepared either.
– A whopping 74% of parents don’t think the federal government is prepared to protect their kids should disaster strike!
While this list doesn’t even scratch the surface of how prepared you should be, here is a list of things you can quickly do to be prepared:
1) Involve your children in the emergency preparedness. Let them know why you need to do this and comfort them and their fears. Answer questions they have, don’t keep them in the dark. Let them pick things out in the store that they would like to include in their own kits.
2) Create an emergency bag for each child. Include:
- Snacks that your child enjoys and comforts them and ones that will stay fresh – Pretzels, crackers, cereal or granola bars. If your child has any food allergies, remember it may be difficult to find these items.
- Water and milk juice boxes. If your child cannot drink from a water bottle or straw yet, be sure to include a sippy cup or cup for them.
- If your child is not potty trained yet, be sure to include 6-8 diapers for every 24 hour period.
- Wipes or Wet Ones, which will come in handy for all types of “sticky” situations.
- An outfit or 2 of extra clothing (and extra underwear even if they are potty trained).
- Let them choose a fun flashlight for their bag (and don’t forget an extra pack of batteries). Glow sticks are fun too!
- Books, crayons, stickers a toy or 2, or card games such as UNO would be a great way to keep them from getting antsy and over-thinking the situation at hand
- Let your child also pick out band-aids and a toothbrush.
- A few toiletries like bath soap, toothpaste and a wash cloth.
- A blanket.
- Children’s Motrin and benedryl.
3) Create a keyring in your kit for each person which a picture of each individual family member.
4) Ask your family doctor’s for a 7 day prescription of your medications, so you always have in emergency situations to take with you.
5) Fill up your gas tank. YES. Really. I never understood why. Where would I be driving?? Well I didn’t fill up my gas tank prior to Hurricane Sandy. My tank was on E actually. We had no power. No power equals no gas. Scary, right?
6) Get yourself some cash. If you need gas or food, your access to credit cards and ATM’s is cut off.
7) A radio. One of the worst parts of Hurricane Sandy was not knowing what was going on all around us, especially while the storm was going on and the power was already out.
8) Talk about an emergency escape plan with your family. This was something we didn’t even do until this past month when the fire department came to my son’s school for Fire Prevention Week. My children came up with a designated place all on their own. I was shocked they had thought about it more than we did!
9) Make photo copies of all of your important documents: birth and marriage certificates, passports, driver’s licenses, wills, insurance information and cards, titles to your vehicles, deed to your home. Keep them in a waterproof container or bag.
10) STAY CALM! Yes, it’s hard to when even mom and dad are scared. But, your children follow YOUR cues. If they see that the one person who is supposed to keep them safe from harm is freaking out, they will too.
More Disaster plan checklists for families and a child’s school/child care can be found here from Save the Children.
Losing your entire sense of stability at such a young age can be devastating. Save the Children’s Journey of Hope program allows children to express their feelings and learn critical coping skills that allow them to bounce back and more forward. Without adequate support, children often fall permanently behind in school while they grapple with intense sadness, depression and anger. Two years after Hurricane Sandy, Save the Children continues our work with children in the hardest-hit communities in New York and New Jersey.
Find an Infographic with key stats from Save the Children’s 2014 Disaster Report Card, as well as see how your state does in protecting children from disaster while they’re in school or child care HERE!
*This post is in partnership with the PA/NJ Bloggers for Social Good Network