Hurricanes – and their aftermath – can be especially scary for little kids. Did you know there are simple things you can do to reduce the toll a hurricane can take on your family? Here are top hurricane survival tips from Save the Children’s emergency experts on how you can protect your children from distress during and after disasters.
Preparing For a Hurricane
Talk to your children about hurricanes. Explain to your child what could happen in the event of a hurricane, using simple, age-appropriate words. Outline an emergency plan for the whole family, with an evacuation plan and meeting location and emphasize that their safety is your utmost priority.
Practice evacuation drills. Once you’ve created your evacuation plan and talked with your children about it, it’s time to practice. Be sure to run through different scenarios – at home, at school and at other places you visit often (like a grandparent’s house, or a second home). When planning your evacuation route, remember that bridges may be washed out, and low-lying areas may be flooded.
Learn your child’s school or daycare disaster plans. If your child attends school, daycare or an after-school program, ask for the facility’s emergency plan in the event of a hurricane. Learn their procedures for evacuation, notifying parents and if there is an alternate pick up location.
Stay informed. Use a NOAA Weather Radio or listen to a local station on a portable, battery-powered radio or television. Be ready to act if a Hurricane Warning is issued. Know the differences between a Hurricane Watch and Warning:
A hurricane watch – there’s a threat of hurricane/tropical storm conditions within 48 hours.
A hurricane warning – a hurricane/tropical storm is expected in 36 hours or less.
A tropical storm/hurricane statement is issued every 2-3 hours by your local National Weather Service (NWS) office. It will summarize all of the watches and warnings, evacuation info and most immediate threats to the area.
Pack a Go-Bag for each child. Every member of the family should have a Go-Bag packed and ready. Include basic hygiene items, a few changes of clothes, a notebook and games and any medications necessary. Does your child need a special blanket or stuffed animal? Children’s security can be tied to the simplest of items. Empower your child and ask them what they’d like to include.
Create an In Case of Emergency (ICE) card for your child in case they are separated from you. Use this valuable template or create your own. It should have the child’s name and at least three emergency contacts, including one person who is outside the affected area.