Planning for an emergency is a project for every family member. Get your pups or children involved in preparedness to help them understand how important it is to be prepared and encourage them to remain calm under stress. Emergencies could happen when you are away and the rest of your pack is at home. So be sure the babysitter knows your emergency plans, too.
Earthquakes. Floods. Fire. Not fun things to talk about. But, if one of these emergencies strike, will your family be prepared?
The first step is to figure out what types of events might occur. Fire happens no matter where you live. Working at the firehouse, I know this all too well. Earthquakes are more regional; but remember, earthquakes have hit in some unexpected places. Floods are more common in some areas than others. So, if your home or doghouse is located in a floodplain, be sure you establish emergency plans to share with your relatives and neighbors. Sharing the information with cats is optional.
So how exactly can you get your kids involved?
- Do a home hazard scavenger hunt to teach our brood about dangerous objects. Have them check every large piece of furniture to make sure everything is secured to a wall. What about paintings and other loose items? Imagine an earthquake. What could, potentially happen to prized possessions like bones or food bowls?
- Make an emergency kit! FEMA has a great online matching game that helps kids picture the key contents of emergency kit. And don’t forget flashlights and canned goods. Alpo and Pedigree are my personal favorites.
- After you put together your kit, it is time to plan! Get your kids involved. And, if you have hands instead of paws, write out the plan. Also, consider including some simple designs, clip art or pictures to make it easy for younger kids to understand.
Here are some key points to cover:
- Notes about each family member
- Phone numbers. Don’t forget to include the names of folks who live far away in case the emergency knocks out local communications. Put copies of photos in the plan, too, so they can be easily distributed if anyone goes missing.
- Make sure everyone understands escape routes and the group meeting area.
- Large families can get older kids to watch over the younger ones
- Ready.gov has a good emergency plan template
With proper planning, you can help make sure your family stays safe in if and when a real emergency strikes. The most important thing is to make sure everyone is involved. BE SAFE.