Keeping your family safe during hurricanes

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CHILDREN

When it comes to keeping kids safe during a hurricane or natural disaster, this is a parents number one priority. Here are some tips on keeping children safe and calm during severe weather.

Educate them and have them take notes: Help your child fight the fear of the unknown by providing him with some reading material on hurricanes.  Try age appropriate books and educational tools that will help youth to better understand and deal with severe weather. If you have days to prep for the storm, refer to the internet for hands on games and instructional videos and have children engage daily.

Give them tasks to aid in preparation; Give your child responsibilities to help him or her feel that they are in charge of the situation. Small tasks could include; testing flashlights or replacing batteries, preparing non perishable snacks for family members, or keeping an eye on younger children while you handle bigger tasks. Giving your child some responsibility can make them feel more secure. and help reduce their anxiety about the chaotic nature of the storm.

Explain the sights and sounds to occur in order to lessen anxiety; The more a child knows about an incoming storm the more likely they are to remain calm and want to help. And by helping, it could reduce their anxiety about the storm.

Emergency personnel, sirens and the chaotic nature of the storm itself can frighten children. If an evacuation is necessary, explain to your child that you are being asked to leave your home in order to protect the family from harm.

Evacuation tips can be found below

There may be conditions under which you will decide to get away or there may be situations when you are ordered to leave. Follow these guidelines for evacuation:

  • Plan places where your family will meet, both within and outside of your immediate neighborhood. Use the Family Emergency Plan to decide these locations before a disaster.
  • If you have a car, keep a full tank of gas in it if an evacuation seems likely. Keep a half tank of gas in it at all times in case of an unexpected need to evacuate. Gas stations may be closed during emergencies and unable to pump gas during power outages. Plan to take one car per family to reduce congestion and delay.
  • Become familiar with alternate routes and other means of transportation out of your area. Choose several destinations in different directions so you have options in an emergency.
  • Leave early enough to avoid being trapped by severe weather.
  • Follow recommended evacuation routes. Do not take shortcuts; they may be blocked.
  • Be alert for road hazards such as washed-out roads or bridges and downed power lines. Do not drive into flooded areas.
  • If you do not have a car, plan how you will leave if you have to. Make arrangements with family, friends or your local government.
  • Take your emergency supply kit unless you have reason to believe it has been contaminated.
  • Listen to a battery-powered radio and follow local evacuation instructions.
  • Take your pets with you, but understand that only service animals may be permitted in public shelters. Plan how you will care for your pets in an emergency.

If time allows:

  • Call or email the out-of-state contact in your family communications plan. Tell them where you are going.
  • Secure your home by closing and locking doors and windows.
  • Unplug electrical equipment such as radios, televisions and small appliances. Leave freezers and refrigerators plugged in unless there is a risk of flooding. If there is damage to your home and you are instructed to do so, shut off water, gas and electricity before leaving.
  • Leave a note telling others when you left and where you are going.
  • Wear sturdy shoes and clothing that provides some protection such as long pants, long-sleeved shirts and a cap.
  • Check with neighbors who may need a ride.
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