By now hopefully you have heard of Hurricane Sandy and its predicted impact in the Mid-Atlantic region. If not, where have you been? Governor O’Malley has issued a state of emergency order for Maryland.
It is important to remember that children hear way more then we think. They will probably come home from school today with some concerns or questions. It is never to early to prepare them for an impending storm.
Harford County has been hit by several storms in the last year. Mother Nature sure has not been kind with several tornadoes touching down, a hurricane last Fall and now with Sandy’s impending arrival children may be concerned.
Speak with your children honestly but, avoid going into too many details. Just answer what they ask and present a confident reassuring demeanor. Remember they sense your emotions so, check your fears and concerns at the door!
Ready.gov has a great kids section to have the kids explore emergency preparedness. There are games, stories and even a special section from Sesame Street on how to prepare.
Here are a few suggestion to empower you children.
- Review your family emergency plan. Make sure you children know what to do in the case of a fire, flood or storm. Review you meeting spot. Review how to call for emergency help.
- Have a checklist to review your emergency kit. Ask children to help review what items you have and may need. Make sure they know where these items are to be kept.
- Put together a “bored box”. This box can be include anything your children would like to have on hand in case there is a loss of power. Items like cards, action figures, dolls, puzzles, Legos, board games, crayons, coloring books, crafts, books and even charged up hand held gaming systems.
- Plan a camping adventure. If you are going to loose power, make it a game and have an indoor camping trip. You can build an indoor fort or tent, sleep in sleeping bags, use battery powered lanterns, or eat camping style meals.
How to prepare your family:
- Water – you will need 1 gallon of water per day per person for evacuation purposes and up to a 2 week supply for at home.
- Nonperishable food items – enough for at least 3 days for evacuation purposes and up to 2 weeks for at home.
- Flashlights- at least one for the home and try to have one per floor of your home. Make sure you have back of batteries for several days.
- Cell Phones – charge the cell phones fully before the storm. If you have a chargeable backpack you are way ahead of the game, make sure that is charged as well. Also, do not forget tablets and iPads!
- First Aid Kit- if you have one double check to make sure you have all your items stocked.
- Batteries – if you can get several packs of rechargeable and have them fully charged before the storm but, beggars can’t be choosers so, get what you can!
- Full up – Make sure all vehicles are fully fueled. Gas pumps run on electricity!
- Have cash – ATMs will not function if there is no power! Make sure you have some cash on hand for emergency purposes!
- Prescriptions – make sure you have enough medication for 2 weeks!
- Family pets – make sure they have an evacuation bag, you have counted on water and food supply for them, and they are wearing identification tags. It might also be a good idea to have vet records to prove vaccinations if you need to stay in a hotel that accepts pets. Also have a recent photo of your pet with you!
- Evacuation Bags – keep a bag or bags with 3 days of clothing including underwear, diapers, PJs, shoes and socks, personal hygiene products, etc. by the door and ready to go, make sure you pack some comfort items for little ones!
- Identification Documents – make sure you have ready to go in a safe location in the home all copies of birth certificates, social security numbers, wills, power of attorney, etc. that you may need in an emergency, make sure you have your insurance policies and medical insurance info.
- Blankets – make sure you have several clean and dry blankets for every family member
- Essentials – other than food or water, don’t forget about filling the bathtub with water to use to flush your toilets, extra toilet paper and paper towels, paper plates and disposable cups, baby wipes (even if you don’t have a baby they help when you can’t bathe)
Some common sense tips:
- Don’t drive in bad weather.
- Keep emergency supplies in the car if you do go out.
- Check your sump pump.
- Clear your gutters.
- Know where your shut off valves are for gas and water.
- Don’t set up a gas generator in a garage or near windows.
- Only use fireplaces that have been maintained properly.
- Do not use candles for fire prevention purposes.