Honolulu-When Family life is disrupted by a natural disaster, children often feel vulnerable or frightened. Well thought out plans that involve them in pre-disaster and post-disaster activities can help calm their fears.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA's) WEB site, FEMA for Kids is designed for children. It has fun stories, quizzes and games that can help families prepare for a disaster. The site also has a library link for ordering free posters, videos and other items for children. The toll free number to call is (800) 480-2520.
An important first step in helping children prepare for a disaster is to have them help stock a Disaster Supply Kit. The FEMA for Kids WEB site explains the kit's contents and provides information in a format children will enjoy while they are learning.
"Parents will be delighted at the non-threatening way disaster information is provided on the FEMA for Kids WEB site," says FEMA Federal Coordinating Officer Mike Karl. "We invite parents to check out the site with their children and use the materials that are offered."
Many things can be done with children to protect the home and family before a disaster strikes. Here are some suggestions:
- Listen together for weather updates and stay in touch with neighbors about ways to evacuate if the order is given.
- Practice Evacuation drills.
- Discuss where the family will gather if separated during a disaster.
- Stock up on water and non-perishable foods.
- Practice with pets when doing evacuation drills; have children put identifying collars on pets.
- Teach children basic first aid steps, like applying bandages.