Here in my part of South Central Texas, we did not experience any of the wrath of Hurricane Harvey. Here at ST4K we’re finding local ways to help evacuees from Port A, Beaumont, Corpus Christi, Houston, and the surrounding areas. I spent alot of time last Monday trying to register as a volunteer on the Red Cross website but it kept timing out. On the local food bank website, it was a breeze to get signed up. You’ve probably seen postings about the most and least needed supplies during disaster relief. Please heed those articles when you’re thinking about how you can help those affected by Hurricane Harvey.
Once I got news of the storm, I began thinking about how parents prepare for and respond to severe weather (tornadoes, blizzards, hurricanes, cyclones, earthquakes). This is an area I don’t have experience with since my husband and I don’t have kids yet. But the Federal Emergency Managment Agency (FEMA) has some great information and resources on teaching kids and adults about emergency preparedness. Of course, we have to keep in mind how our children respond to emergencies even if their just for pretend or practice. For some children, this may create anxiety or a meltdown. Other children might be oblivious or uninterested in participating or learning about how to prepare for an emergency. Gauge your child’s response and tailor the training and information you give to him or her.
FEMA and Ready.gov have a catchy slogan: “Don’t Wait. Communicate.” Make a family emergency plan today. I think this is a great starting point. Creating a plan gets our minds into the logistics of how we want to stay connected to each other when we are together or apart. What if your child is at school? What if you are at work or the store? What if you’re out of town? I think that sometimes in and effort to protect our children from the evils and dangers of the world, we avoid exposing ourselves to the uncertainties of life which may leave us unprepared.
Below is a family communication plan for parents and for kids. Before an emergency happens, have a family discussion to determine who would be your out-of-state point of contact, and where you would meet away from your home — both in the neighborhood and within your town. Pick the same person for each family member to contact. It might
be easier to reach someone who’s out of town. Fill in this information and keep a copy of the communication plan in a safe place, such as your purse or briefcase, your car, your office, and your disaster kit. Be sure to look it over every year and keep it up to date.