SAN JUAN, PR – What happens if there is an emergency and your children are not around? Will they be ready? The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) encourages families to have their children prepared for an emergency as early in their childhood as possible, making them smarter and more resilient as well as enhancing their opportunities to survive and help their communities recover faster from any type of disaster.
“Engaging children in the emergency preparedness process will automatically give them a sense of security and inclusion in such an important task. They will benefit from knowing what their family plans are and how things should work during this type of event, which can be a scary situation for them,” said FEMA’s Caribbean Area Division Director Alejandro De La Campa. “Kids can assist their parents when putting together an emergency kit and by taking care of the pets. It’s very important that they understand their roles in the family emergency plan.”
Every family needs an emergency communications plan that includes a list of phone numbers of key contacts to reach during an emergency; these can be written down in a piece of paper or card, for quick action. The list should include an out of town emergency contact that every family member can reach to inform where and how they are and when they will be able to reunite. Children should always keep a copy of this list in their belongings, such as school bag, luggage, sports bag and emergency kit.
During the upcoming vacation period, if kids will spend time in a summer camp, make sure you know the facility’s emergency procedures and adjust the family plan accordingly.
Another main component of any family emergency plan is an emergency kit. This should include enough supplies for at least three days, such as: Water, canned food, can opener, battery operated radio and additional batteries, first aid kit, flashlight, clothes, blanket, whistle, and any prescribed medicine. Kids can include personal items, such as their favorite toy or game.
Don’t forget that pets are part of the family and should be included in the emergency plan. Children can help by gathering enough pet food and water for at least three days; food should be kept in a waterproof container. Pets should wear a collar with a name tag and an extra collar should be included in the kit. If you haven’t done so already, consider acquiring a pet crate which is a safer to transport your pets. Do not forget any prescribed medicines, toys and supplies to clean up after the pet, such as; plastic bags, paper towels or newspapers.
Seek additional disaster preparedness information and identify hazards that may impact those places where your family spends most of their time and get ready now. Involve your children, practice your emergency plan frequently and talk about emergency preparedness. Learn more about emergency preparedness and how to improve your community resiliency to emergency situations by visiting www.fema.gov or www.ready.gov.
FEMA News Desk (787) 296-3554, (787) 296-3560
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.