Preparedness and Your Kids. Yes, They Can Be In The Same Sentence.
We get it. No one wants to think about his or her family being subjected to a disaster. But the thing is, disaster preparedness doesn’t have to be the stuff of nightmares—it can be an adventure. The key is getting young ones involved in the details so there are plenty of opportunities to get excited. (Flashlights are super fun, after all.)
Here are some thoughts on how to get kids interested and involved:
The Preschooler “Bug Safari”
Toddlers and young children love to play dress-up. As this age group is fascinated by bugs, set up a “bug safari” where you go to a park to look for bugs. Have them help pick out appropriate outdoor clothes and make part of the process having packing up enough appropriate supplies for 24 hours in an emergency. This exercise is also a great time to ask your child share what comfort items they most want to pack, such as stuffed animals, pictures of family or a favorite blanket.
For additional ideas and tips, check out FEMA’s Ready Kids website
Grade Schoolers, AKA Little Naturalists
Longer camping, hiking and fishing trips are not only great exercise and bonding experiences, but also they are a great way to get familiar with the outdoors. Make the experience hands on and help them learn basic naturalist and conservation skills—like anticipating weather, learning which berries are safe to eat and where to find safe water. As kids as young as 10 can learn skills such as basic first aid, fire building, shelter building and knot tying, it’s a great age to enroll them in programs such as the Cub Scouts, Brownies, and Campfire.
Jr. High and High Schoolers, AKA the Learn-It-Alls
No, they don’t know everything (though they think they do). However, they can be one step closer if they take advantage of some of the many low-cost or free emergency prep training programs out there:
- First aid and CPR from the American Heart Association or the American Red Cross
- A Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program (Note that many programs have a minimum age requirement that begins somewhere between 14 and 16 years old.) Check with your local Fire Department or Office of Emergency Management to learn about classes in your area.
- For aspiring emergency and rescue workers, many fire departments and police departments have cadet and explorer programs that teach both emergency preparedness and response skills, as well as help prepare someone for a career:
- Volunteering at the local fire department or office of emergency management is another way to learn more about emergency and disaster response. Older children (usually 18 years and older) are usually welcome, too.
Click here or the image below to download Boltwell’s Fire Safety Checklist!