Recent events across the globe, including the earthquake and
tsunami in Japan, tornadoes ravaging the midwest and Hurricane
Katrina in Louisiana, have made us more hyper-aware of how sudden our
comfortable lives can be devastated.
Whether we take that awareness and act on it, or just sit back and hope
that it never happens to us, well that is up to the individual. Face it, natural disasters can strike
anywhere, and at any time, so it is incredibly important to have a plan, and be
prepared. It can seem
overwhelming, but there are some great resources that provide tips, advice and
ideas that you can implement in your family.
How To Prepare
Getting your kids involved early in discussion and planning
can go a long way in relieving their anxiety over potential disaster, and
forces the family to discuss their plans.
In the article Children
and Emergencies: Preparing Your Family on iVillage, the author suggests
ways in which you can start the conversation, as well as the crucial
information kids need to know, such as phone numbers and how to deal with
Also, Huffington Post has partnered with Laurie David on Family Dinner
Downloads, which encourages families to sit down to dinner together and
engage in discussion. A new
download comes every Friday, and a recent discussion prompt asked, Are
You Prepared for a Natural Disaster? It is a great conversation starter to begin your family’s
plans for if disaster strikes, as well as how to help others in need.
On NPR’s Talk of the
Nation broadcast, a panel of experts shared their opinions about disaster
preparedness, and The
Most Effective Ways to Prepare for Disaster. It is an audio recording of the broadcast, but also includes
a written transcription. In the
discussion, they talk a lot about community readiness, and how communities can
best prepare for the worst. On
April 28th, for example, is the Great Central U.S. Shakeout for
states in the Midwest and South, while West Coast earthquake drills happen in
Checklists, tools and
One of the best resources out there to plan and prepare for
natural disaster is FEMA. You can read up based on various
disasters, such as fire, earthquake, tornado, hurricane, terrorism and
more. Tips include planning,
assembling supplies, seeking shelter and getting your children involved at the
FEMA kids site.
Another fantastic, and easy to use site is 72Hours.org, prepared by the city of
San Francisco. Clickable buttons
on the website allow you to work through various categories, such as planning
with your family and children, building a “go bag” and how to deal with
pets. One of the terrific
resources is a printable PDF that you can use to map your neighborhood, come up
with a community plan, and put together a neighborhood contact list with numbers
as well as relevant skills each person has.
Once you get a handle on how to plan, and what you need, you
can start preparing your emergency kit.
There are many sites that sell prepared kits for families of 4 or more. Amazon.com has several choices,
including this Deluxe
Backpack Kit, and Essential
Packs specializes in emergency packs for home and auto. Also, we really like REI’s selection of Emergency
Kits that you can tailor to fit your needs.
Ultimately, the key is to have a plan and the supplies to
implement it. Hopefully we've provided you with starting points for both.