Natural disasters strike. They are a fact of life. Being prepared for them will make it easier and less worrisome. Teaching your children to be prepared without making it too scary can be accomplished.
Here are some family activities that will help you to prepare for the what-ifs of life:
Draw up a plan
As a family, sit down with a piece of paper and draw a map of your house. Mark an 'X' on escape routes in case of fire. Draw a big circle where everyone is to meet (the oak tree in the front yard, the dog house, the Smith's front yard). Show where everyone is to meet in case of a tornado. Visualizing an actual escape will help everyone not to panic in case of emergency. Make copies of the map and put in your 72-hour kit.
For a family activity, ask the children what they want in a 72-hour kit. Discuss their ideas. Have a backpack for each family member. Each week, buy something to put in the kit. Essentials are water, change of clothes, prescription meds. Other items would include things that are lightweight and nutritious such as nuts, dried fruits, granola bars. Other things to consider are a journal and pen, a book to read, scriptures and a puzzle book or small games for small children. Make it a goal to have a completed 72-hour kit for each family member by the end of the year. Keep them in a place where they can be easily grabbed.
One of the kits should have things for the group. Matches, a sharp knife, a pair of scissors, rope, plastic trash bags, first aid kit, money in an unmarked container, phone numbers, radio with fresh batteries, phone charger, can opener, flashlight with fresh batteries and whistle.
Every member of the family should know basic first aid. You can get a book at the public library or a used bookstore. Make sure it is a fairly current version. Plan a family night when you can go over various procedures and treatments.
Know your area
In addition to fire, know the natural disasters that can occur in your area. Go over a plan for each disaster. Be earthquake, flood, fire, tornado and hurricane ready. Also know escape routes for getting out of town. Your town council or chamber of commerce will probably have maps and other vital information for emergencies.
Gas in the tank
A good friend taught me that it is just as easy to keep your gas tank full as it is to let it run out and then fill it. It's true. It doesn't cost any more, but it will keep you prepared in case you have to get out of harm's way.
When presenting to your family, try not to make it frightening. Make it an adventure, instead. Impress upon them the importance of being prepared for anything.
Routinely do practice drills. Have a fire drill in the middle of the night. Time how long it takes for your family to gather with their kits at the designated spot. Also practice drills for whatever natural disasters are contingent to your area.
The family that is prepared will have less to panic over than those who aren't. The more prepared your family is, the more they will be able to help others around them — neighbors, extended family and community.