Friday, August 6, 2010

Time for school again. Are you ready?

With August upon us many families are getting ready to go back to school. Clothes, backpacks, pens, pencils, iPhone, laptop computer, luggage to hall it all around in. Check. Disaster plan. What?

When was the last time you talked with your family about what to do in an emergency? Would your children know what to do if you were not there? Would you know where to find them?


Disaster can strike at any time. Here in California we have to worry about earthquakes, brush fires and in some areas floods are a concern. Since no one can anticipate when these events might happen the best thing one can do is be prepared.

I remember once for about a month dad and mom would casually start dinner with "There has just been an earthquake. We are at work. You made it and got out of what is left of the house. What do you do now?"

Well, you can imagine how teenage boys would react to this. And we did. "Pass the gravy. I would beat Jim to the emergency kit, get the food out and start eating." " Can I have the mashed potatoes? I would start heading for the high school, but I'd stop at Del Taco first."

Mom or dad would some how bring us back around (usually without resorting to grounding us) and we would talk about first aid, what was in the emergency kit, how to use some of the things in it, where to get help if someone was trapped, where to meet at, how long to wait there before going to a shelter or the Red Cross area's in town.

I know it's a hard thing to talk about. You don't want to be afraid or scare your children, but you do want them to be able to seek help and know what to do if you are not able to be there. Most families don't discuss this, especially once your children have grown up and moved out. It is not pleasant to think about. Putting together a plan is the best way to face that fear.

FEMA has created a web page called Ready Kids.This is a great resource for tips on talking with your children, creating a kit, making a disaster plan and more. As part of the Ready.gov website, the goal is to help families and individuals prepare for the range of natural and man made disasters that can strike.

For more information on disaster planning, check out, Insurance Notes, Ready.gov,  the Red Cross, NFPA.org, and check with your local community center about disaster planning events in your area.

Talk with your family and friends about what you would do in a disaster. Plan ahead. If  anything happens, you will be able to cope better with it and not be immobilized by panic.