by Judy Bezon, Associate Director, Children’s Disaster Services
1. Read your children books about hurricanes (see PlanItNow.org Featured Headline ‘Recommended Books for Kids’!) Discuss the book with them and answer their questions. Talk about what might happen if a hurricane comes to your area.
2. Create a disaster plan for your family. Include specifics of what you will do if you need to evacuate, what you will do if you need to shelter in a place or how you can stay in touch if communications are cut off.
3. Show your children the preparations you’ve made like an evacuation bag with flashlights, granola bars, a change of clothes. If you’ve stockpiled food and water, show them where it is and let them know you’re prepared if the roads are closed or the water is cut off.
4. Be specific. If a child is older, share details of the family’s disaster plan such as: “If a bad storm comes, we’ll go to Aunt Sally’s house.”
5. Make a communication plan, and tell your children about it: “If Daddy’s at work and he can’t call us, Daddy and Mommy will leave messages with Grandpa in Kansas, and he will help us know that Daddy is okay.”
6. Learn about your daycare or school hurricane or evacuation plan and share that with your child.
7. Steps like these will give your children confidence, allowing them to think: “Something bad might happen, but my family is ready for it.”