SOUTH CHARLESTON, W. Va. -- When kids see news about a storm or flood or other kind of disaster it can make them feel helpless, experts say. Or they may hear their friends or relatives talking about what happened to them during a storm or flood; the kids' eyes widen and their ears perk up. They wonder if they could be hurt in a disaster.
Help your children overcome their fears by being involved in planning a family emergency supply kit. Together you can make a list of the things you need to have in your kit. If you find there are items that should be included and you do not have them in the house, go shopping together for them. Make disaster preparedness a project you do together.
Here are some things you may want to talk about and plan for:
- What kinds of supplies will be on your list for your emergency supply kit;
- How you are preparing the family home for a disaster;
- How you will evacuate if necessary and where you will go (to friends or relatives or a shelter);
- Where you will meet if you're not at home when the disaster strikes;
- Who you will call to "check in" if you become separated during the disaster.
A good project for youngsters to do in advance is assemble a "kids activity kit" that may include:
- Favorite books;
- Crayons, coloring books, pencils and paper;
- Favorite toys or stuffed animals;
- One or two board games;
- A deck of cards;
- A favorite blanket or pillow.
Kids who take an active role in disaster preparedness are less fearful and can also be a big help if a disaster happens.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has a disaster information Web site just for kids. Parents and teachers are encouraged to log onto www.fema.gov/kids/ for more disaster facts and information for children.
FEMA's mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.