Preparing Children for Emergencies
circumstances create high amounts of stress, not only for
adults, but children also. Whether it is a fire, flood or
earthquake, children need to know what to do and how to do
it in order to minimize stress and anxiety. Have you heard
stories on the news about a child who saves a family by staying
calm, calling 911, and following directions? Being prepared
to help in an emergency saves lives. What makes it possible
for a child in a high stress situation to be ready to help?
and Practice Home Emergency Plans
Everyone in the family needs to be aware of potential disasters
and what to do if they occur. Start family emergency planning
with a brainstorming session. (Depending on the age of your
children you may need to explain that brainstorming is sharing
whatever comes to mind. No idea is bad and no one should be
laughed at for their contributions.) After brainstorming pull
out the most effective ideas and make a family written plan
and post it in a public place. Put plans into action by rehearsing
drills. After each trial, evaluate performance to make the
plan run more smoothly. Planning in such a way allows children
to maintain control of their responses and actions, even when
emergencies are out of their control. Planning increases their
ability to respond calmly in an emergency.
Youth in Programs
Community youth programs teach important life skills. These
programs prepare children by enlarging upon the lessons from
home and school. Organizations such as The American Red Cross,
Boy Scouts of America, Girls Scouts of U.S.A, and R.A.D. Kids
promote emergency preparedness and skills, and often assist
families by offering good exercises to do at home.
Teach, review, and practice basic first aid with children.
Talk about more complicated first aid procedures, even if
they are not physically capable of doing them. Although children
may not be able to perform procedures such as CPR, clearing
a person's airway, or giving mouth-to-mouth resuscitation,
it is beneficial for them to know what it is in case they
ever witness it. Traumatic events cause more fear and tension
if they are completely new or unfamiliar.
Create a sense of belonging, responsibility, and service for
your family by participating in city wide clean-ups or other
service projects. Involvement teaches children that many hands
make light work and that we all need to help each other to
get a job done. If there ever is a need for community work
during an emergency children will know how to help and work
Health and Fitness
Having a strong mind and a healthy body aids a person in a
disaster. Being able to react and withstand challenges is
an important component of physical readiness. Youth can help
with tasks such as sandbagging, shoveling, and cleaning if
they have been physically active and living a healthy lifestyle.
is the Best Medicine
Humor reduces stress and anxiety by releasing feel-good hormones
in the brain, promoting positive thinking and emotion. Make
humor apart of everyday life. Encourage good jokes and optimism.
Practice making tense situations lighter with laughter. Children
will be reassured and relaxed during the stress that is associated
with emergency if they can have the healthy outlet of laughter.
prepared for possible emergencies increases confidence, knowledge
and skill in children of all ages. Because emergencies can
cause high stress and have a negative impact and effect on
people's lives, especially children, it is important to take
the necessary steps to prepare them for such situations. Also
remember that children react to the emotions of those around
them and can sense when there is fear, stress or anxiety.
The best way to help a child in an emergency is to be prepared
to deal with the situation yourself.
Francesca Black is a prolific writer and has generated a number
of educational articles about emergencies. Additional articles
can be found at Prepare for Emergency http://www.prepare-for-emergency.com