For Kids - Preparedness
Hey Kids! Here are some cool web sites and books designed just for you! Click on the links below and you'll find fun activities, coloring books, and more. Have fun and learn about disasters at the same time.
For Parents - Helping Your Children Prepare
Get Children Ready for a Disaster (PDF)
The phrase "The better you're prepared, the less you're scared" goes for kids as well as adults. When talking to kids about disasters, it is important to teach them about disasters, without overly alarming them. It's a balancing act between the facts and potential impacts of a disaster and empowering them with actions they can take to be safe. Being open about what you are doing as a family to prepare before disasters happens is comforting. When possible, involve kids in activities like putting together the disaster supplies kit.
Teaching younger children
The best thing you can do for younger children is to create a safe environment around them. You can't really teach an infant or toddler about Drop Cover and Hold in an earthquake, but you can reduce the likelihood they will get hurt from falling book shelves, pictures and other furnishings around them. More information on reducing earthquake hazards is available here.
As kids get older
For most kids, you can start introducing safety actions at about age 4. Don't overwhelm them with too much information at once. Teach one safety action such as Drop, Cover and Hold under the dining room table, and follow up with practice drills so they can demonstrate they understand what to do. Practice with them until you are satisfied they know what to do. Then you can move to another room in the house and start over.
As kids get older, you can talk about how a disaster is something that could hurt people or cause damage. Explain that nature sometimes provides "too much of a good thing" -- fire, rain, and wind. Explain how important it is to make a Family Disaster Plan. Teach children:
- How to call for help.
- When to call each emergency number.
- To call the family contact if separated.
- To keep personal identification information in their possession at all times.
Let them help with testing smoke detectors or building the family kit. You can get them their own backpack and have them assemble a kit for themselves. When you involve your kids in getting your family ready, you are insuring they understand the family plan and are building life skills that will come in handy as they grow up!