Parenting: Family Disaster Preps

Hurricane season is coming, a great time to start preparing kids for storms of every kind.

Summer ushers in hurricane season in the eastern United States and this year, there's a new effort to make sure families are prepared.
April 27, 2011 6:24:55 AM PDT
Summer ushers in hurricane season in the eastern United States and this year, there's a new effort to make sure families are prepared.

The Federal Alliance for Safe Homes, or FLASH, is organizing special events and new social media networking components to spread the word to adults and kids about disaster preparedness. The information they're pushing is useful to families from the Delaware and Lehigh Valleys for two reasons. First: many families from our area take summer vacations to shore locations which could be affected by hurricanes and other strong coastal storms. Second: at least some of the preparedness actions FLASH advises are applicable to other emergency situations, like flooding and severe thunderstorms that lead to loss of power and communication.

The FLASH website gives great tips on how a family can prepare an emergency kit filled with everything and anything that might become useful in case of an emergency. Some of these items are more obvious, like enough water and non-perishable food to last everyone three days, as well as blankets, flashlights and a battery-operated radio. Others had not occurred to me, like important papers (insurance documents, birth certificates, recent tax records), and spare keys. A comprehensive list is available at the above link.

A companion initiative is the Great Hurricane Blow-Out, in partnership with the National Hurricane Center. The GHB not only aims to get families more informed when it comes to disaster awareness, but also gives you and your kids a chance to help out others who may wind up more in need than you as the storm season unfolds. The GHB website offers a way for families to pledge a disaster relief kit to a family with little means in hurricane-prone areas. GHB suggests that different families can do this as a group with a "kit party", where multiple families volunteer to shop for various items, and then assemble the kit together.

There are also some sweepstakes and even a facebook page to help encourage involvement. Information is on the GHB website linked in the previous paragraph. This is a summer-long effort with key events scheduled throughout the coming months. June 1, the start of the Atlantic hurricane season, marks National Hurricane Emergency Kit Party Day, when you're encouraged to gather and construct your kits and those for others in need. The Blowout on Facebook also happens on this date, where a home generator sweepstakes and gift card give-away begins. During August, Dine in the Dark encourages families to practice making recipes from only the tools and items they have placed in their emergency kits. Other initiatives involved doing projects that help protect your home from emergencies.

It's all about protecting the family from injury while in a storm zone or at home, and making everyone, from the parents right on down to the youngsters aware of how to react in an emergency.

---David Murphy

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