Every September, the government observes National Preparedness Month to raise awareness about the importance of being prepared for natural disasters, house fires, and other emergencies. The theme for 2021 is “Prepare to Protect. Preparing for disasters is protecting everyone you love.”

In accordance with this year’s theme, we want to focus on emergency planning when children are in the picture. Kids have unique needs that put them at greater risk of physical harm and emotional instability when a disaster strikes. If you’re a parent, teacher, caregiver, or loved one of a child, begin preparing for an emergency today. Here’s how.

Create a Disaster Supply Kit

You could compile emergency supplies without involving your children, but consider sharing this information with them to help alleviate their fears. After all, it’s easy to feel helpless when watching the news and seeing disasters crop up around the world. Kids can approach disasters with greater confidence if they know you have a plan and a kit is ready to go if something happens in their area.

When compiling your emergency kit, it’s important to know what your family already has and what you need to restock. Use this checklist to make sure you’re prepared. To keep your kids involved in the planning process, ask them what they think goes in the kit and why.

Make a Family Communication Plan

Getting separated from their family and not knowing where to go during an emergency can cause children to panic. Establishing how you’ll contact one another and meet up if separated gives your kids peace of mind and helps them stay calm amid the chaos. Here’s what should go into your family communication plan:

  • Who will we contact? Pick one person that everyone will contact. If possible, choose someone who lives out of town because they’ll probably be easier to reach during a local disaster. Inform your kids that phone lines may be tied up in an emergency, so texting may be the most reliable way to get a message through.
  • Where will we meet? Decide on safe, familiar, accessible places for your family to seek shelter and reunite. These should be located in your house, neighborhood, and out of town so you’re ready for any situation. Remember to choose animal-friendly locations if you have pets.

Write down emergency contact information and meet-up spots. Then, keep copies in your emergency kit, wallet, backpack, purse, and other secure places. Enter the information into everyone’s cell phones as well.

Ready.gov has more useful information about preparing kids, teens, families, and educators for emergencies.

If a disaster has strikes your home or business, DKI can help you recover. Our disaster restoration teams respond to various emergencies, including storm damage, fire damage, water damage, and much more. We offer 24-hour response and are committed to arriving onsite within two hours of receiving your emergency call. For more emergency preparedness tips or to request help, contact DKI online or call 877-533-0210.