CHICAGO – As FEMA’s National Preparedness Month continues through the end of September, it’s important to remember disasters can happen any time and being prepared for them starts at home. Communicating disaster readiness actions with the children in your household is important to ensure they know what to do when the unexpected occurs.
“Engaging young people with disaster readiness information is key to building an overall culture of preparedness across the country,” said Scott Burgess, federal coordinating officer for the southeast Michigan disaster recovery operation. “Empowered youth can get their communities involved and better prepared for emergencies when they happen.”
Follow these tips to help kids be ready:
- Know the facts! Disasters don’t plan ahead. You can. Know what disasters and hazards could affect your area. FEMA’s video, Prepared Not Scared, shows disaster risks that could affect southeast Michigan and is a good place to start a disaster readiness conversation. Make sure to talk through what to do before, during and after each type of emergency.
- Have a plan! If a disaster happens, knowing who to call and where to meet is an important part of emergency planning for you and your family. Review your family emergency communications plan with kids at your next household meeting. Get familiar with your child’s school evacuation and reunification plans to incorporate into your preparations too.
- Build a kit! When making an emergency kit, it’s important to know what your family already has and what you still need. Sit down with your family and use this checklist to decide what else you need to make sure you and your family are prepared for any emergency.
- Get involved! Find opportunities by learning about Teen CERT online and consider applying to the FEMA Youth Preparedness Council next spring.
For more tips on talking to your kids about natural disasters, visit www.ready.gov/kids/prepare-your-family. You can also download “Prepare with Pedro: Disaster Preparedness Activity Book” to help teach young children how to stay safe during disasters and emergencies through fun activities such as crosswords, coloring pages, matching games, and more.
Disaster recovery assistance is available without regard to race, color, religion, nationality, sex, age, disability, English proficiency, or economic status. Reasonable accommodations, including translation and American Sign Language interpreters via Video Relay Service will be available to ensure effective communication with applicants with limited English proficiency, disabilities, and access and functional needs. If you or someone you know has been discriminated against, call FEMA toll-free at 800-621-3362 (including 711 or Video Relay). If you are deaf, hard of hearing or have a speech disability and use a TTY, call 800-462-7585.
FEMA’s mission is helping people before, during, and after disasters.