Helping Your Family Prepare

— Written By N.C. Cooperative Extension
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June 1 began the six-month period of “Hurricane Season” in North Carolina. Be ready in the event of a hurricane blowing through your home! Don’t be reluctant to talk with your family about the possibility of a hurricane or any disaster. Thought and action before a disaster hits usually helps family members react wisely. Families that work together to prepare for the problem will cope better than those who do not take precautions. Consider how your children might react in a disaster, how you might react, and how the crisis could affect each person’s emotional and physical well-being. Plan in advance for how to deal with a crisis situation.

For the entire family, make emergency plans as outlined by the Red Cross or other disaster team. Discuss and practice these plans with your family before a disaster strikes. Work together to help your children or other dependents understand the procedures. These steps will allow each family member to think through a potential crisis situation without the tension of a real emergency.

Give children exact steps to follow. Talking, practicing, and actively preparing together will help children understand strange occurrences like a hurricane. Help children practice dialing 911 or other emergency numbers. Read news stories of family or community problems and emergencies. Talk about how your family would handle the situation. This gives your children the time to think through and plan actions for real life crises. Discuss a situation that might arise in your area and then ask, “What would you do?” Provide basic supplies for a variety of possible situations. Stock a box with games, books, and hobby materials for sitting out emergencies. Make sure emergency supplies of food, diapers, and water are available, as recommended by disaster teams.

If you have older or disabled relatives living at home, review emergency procedures with them. If special transportation or assistance is necessary in an emergency, arrange this in advance. If a relative lives in a nursing home, discuss evacuation procedures with the staff and make needed plans. Make sure vital medications and health support services are ready with emergency procedures in place before a disaster strikes.