It’s that dreaded time of year again. The kids are back to school, and once again you get to wrestle with early mornings and post-Summer traffic jams. And while we all find ourselves a little more stressed during this season, it’s more important than ever to keep our kids safe—especially since they’re in other people’s care during the weekdays. So, with the upcoming hurricane season, here are ten ways you can make sure your children are safe and educated for in case of storm-related emergencies.
1. What Are Hurricanes? – Children are like sponges, so use this advantage to talk to them about hurricanes at a young age. It’s important for them to know that hurricanes are a natural event outside of anyone’s control. With younger children, it can be helpful to use simple words to make it easy for them to understand. Kids [like adults] are less afraid of things they understand, and this will make preparing them far less challenging.
2. Know Where You’re Vulnerable – Know the specific risks associated with your home’s location, in addition to places frequented by your family such as schools, theaters, and parks. Are these locations in evacuation zones? Know if each are at particular risk of flooding, or collapsing trees or powerlines.
3. Exercise Home Evacuation Plan – Have an evacuation plan and practice it with your family, so during an emergency, you can evacuate quickly and safely.
4. Know School Evacuation Plans – As discussed in Tip #2 above, know the vulnerabilities of the locations your family frequents, and become familiar with the preparation and evacuation plans of your child’s school if their area is at risk. Some schools report to a safer location so make pickup plans accordingly.
5. Stay Informed – Early warning alerts can make all the difference, and there are several resources to make sure you receive those alerts as they’re made available. For those of you with smart phones (nearly everyone), you likely already have Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEAs) activated on your phone. WEAs will automatically appear on your phone in the case of an emergency. You can also stay informed and prepared by having an emergency AM / FM Weather Band radio and tune into your local NOAA Weather Radio station. Find your local NOAA stations here. NOAA’s Twitter account also posted updates to @NOAA.
6. Stay Indoors Unless Dangerous – Staying inside and away from any windows or doors while keeping informed on weather reports is the safest thing to do for you and your family. If however, you are told to evacuate, or you feel it’s no longer safe in your current location, then it’s time to evacuate…
7. When to Evacuate – If local authorities have told you to evacuate, or if you feel it’s unsafe to stay put, then it’s time to leave. If you do decide to evacuate your current location, stay alert for fallen powerlines, and avoid flooded roads and washed-out bridges. Be extra careful when near the coast. Remember your evacuation plans from Tip #3 and Tip #4 above.
8. Make Sure It’s Safe – Make sure that vital utilities such as plumbing and electricity are operational, and there are no physical or environmental hazards before allowing the children to return to areas impacted by a hurricane. This doesn’t just go for the local mall—be sure to personally check your child’s school, daycare, and/or frequented locations.
9. Keep the Kids Involved – Have the children help in the recovery. Let them help you with cleaning and easy/age-appropriate repair efforts. This helps increase their sense of control over the situation, and can mitigate any negative emotional reactions to the situation, while reinforcing their preparedness for the future. Remember, they’re sponges!
10. Keep the News to the Adults – After a hurricane, monitor media exposure in case the results of the storm may not be appropriate to young eyes and ears.
Keeping your children informed and active in case of emergencies will always prove useful for that rainy day. It will also prove even more useful in managing your own stress during the hurricane season. May you and your kids have a safe and stress-free return to school!
For emergency backup power solutions during this hurricane season, contact Rental Power Solutions at (305) 487-8760 or the RPS Contact Us page.