Hurricanes stand as one of the most destructive natural disasters that a person can experience. Not only does a person or a city have to endure a storm itself, but there are also often severe after-effects of a hurricane as a result of strong winds, heavy rain, and flying debris. Hurricanes can be really scary for children, especially when it is their first experience with a storm like that.
The greatest gift a child can receive before a storm is an information on what a hurricane is, what to expect, and how to act in case of an emergency. Children at any age should be aware of what to do when a hurricane hits, whether they are 2 or 12.
We have compiled a basic list of hurricane safety tips for kids that parents, guardians, schools, and after-school programs can utilize to prepare children for a storm and inform them of what safety protocols are in place to ensure their safety.
So, here are out top hurricane safety tips for kids:
Give the child a basic understanding of what a hurricane is.
Educate your child or children as to what a hurricane is. Basic information can look like educating them on hurricane seasons, where hurricanes commonly exist, how they form and how they look by showing children pictures or videos of what a storm looks like.
Educate the child on the “symptoms” of a storm.
Let the child know, it will be windy, stormy, dark, and very, very dangerous to be outside. The first safety step, especially if you are open and exposed during a storm, is to find shelter. The more they know about what a storm looks like and what the symptoms are, the faster they can recognize it is time to find cover.
Before a storm, there is a warning.
Talk to your child about weather services. Often there is enough time before a storm to get ready.
Pull out the disaster plan.
A disaster plan is an organized series of steps that a family will take when a hurricane comes through. Go into as much detail as possible with your child. Explain that it is necessary to pull objects away from windows and doors, shut blinds and storm blinds, move to the safest part of the house, find an adult and wait out the storm. If the city is ordered to evacuate, let your child where the safe spot will be inland.
Make a disaster kit and keep it in a place where it is easy to find.
This might be a backpack with survival gear and should include: a first aid kit, flashlight, radio, food, water (3+ days worth), medicine, emergency contact numbers from the state or city, and any special instructions and/or maps.
During the storm, stay clear of flood areas.
Tell your child low-lying areas in the home and outside the home may be prone to flooding. Show your child where these areas are and allow them to figure out how they should avoid them if they are old enough to think that critically. These areas are canals and streams among other areas that are unique to your city and home.
During a storm tell your child the safest place to be is inside.
Go as high as possible.
If there is flooding that occurs, your child should have a way to get to the highest point in the home, to avoid being trapped in water.
Do not drink tap water.
At times, after a storm, the water may be contaminated. Only drink bottled water if you are trapped indoors.
Always talk to an adult about your fears.
Be open and honest about the storm, about what they can expect and wait for any questions they have.
These are just some very basic tips you and your children can use to stay safe during a storm. The fine details will be unique to your family and the area you live in. The best advice to give your child is to honestly explain what to expect. Participate in trial runs so they can get used to the idea of what may or may not happen.