While our world is quite a beautiful place, it also has its share of danger and disaster. Some of us have regular tornado warnings, while others endure the surprise quaking of the earth. It could be a hurricane, a tsunami, a fire, a flood, or a volcanic eruption. You could be dealing with a bunker, a shelter, or an evacuation. Around the world we have our fair share of emergency situations, and it is wise to have some kind of plan for handling an emergency situation with your family.
Making a Plan
The very first step for handling an emergency situation with your family is to make a plan. And this plan will look different for every family. Some of us live with more likelihood of an emergency than others. Some of us are more concerned about this than others. Your family emergency plan will reflect your situation, your needs, your values, and your own beliefs. No matter how prepared you decide to be, at the minimum, you should at least have a basic plan.
The site Ready✓ lists some key points to consider in building your family emergency plan. First, we have to consider the fact that our family members may not all be in the same place when an emergency happens. So the first step is to identify what kinds of emergencies could affect your family. Then decide how you will contact one another, and choose a meeting place that will be easy for everyone.
Once you have figured this information out, Ready✓ lists several questions to consider as you build more specific pieces of your plan.
- How will I receive emergency alerts and warnings?
- What is my shelter plan?
- What is my evacuation route?
- What is my family/household communication plan?
- Do I need to update my emergency preparedness kit? Ready✓ has a thorough kit list here.
- Check with the CDC and update my emergency plans due to Coronavirus (masks, sanitizer, available shelter).
As you make these plans, think through the specific needs of your family members. It’s important to consider various ages, medical conditions, dietary needs, languages spoken, or pet care.
Talking to your kids about an emergency situation
It can be unnerving to talk to your kids about an emergency plan, but in an emergency, a well-known plan will provide confidence and security for them. We, as parents, can present the possibility of an emergency with calmness and confidence. Connect emergency preparedness to something they understand, like car seat or seat belt usage. We buckle up every time we’re in the car, just in case. Does wearing a seat belt mean something terrible is about to happen? No, we wear them just in case. And then, if we do get into a wreck, the seat belts will help us to be safer. In the same way, we have an emergency plan just in case, and if anything happens, we’ll have help to be safer.
People who can help
While you’re talking about your emergency plan, you can also talk about all the people who are in positions to help them in an emergency. This is a great time to learn the signs for firefighter, nurse, doctor, or police officer. You can find ASL signs for more people in the People section of our Signing Time Dictionary. My Signing Time can be a great distraction for kids during a time of anxiety, giving them something positive to think about. If you have the My Signing Time App, you can download a few videos to keep on hand in case there is no internet. (Don’t forget to include a charger in your emergency kit!)