Earthquakes and floods are becoming more common in recent years even in Singapore, that is why people should be prepared to act appropriately when needed to avoid panic and injuries. These can be frightening even for adults, but children’s preparedness for disasters are usually overlooked unless there is an occasional school drill.
Here are tips on how you can prepare your kids at home for emergencies.
Read up on natural disasters
Understanding what happens during an emergency might help family members calm down and to think of better ways to deal with the situation. Explain why they need to be calm and to acknowledge that fear is normal but it should not get in the way of doing what is supposed to be done.
Even children who cannot yet read will be able to pick up useful information by reading books on topics such as earthquakes, flooding, waterspouts, heatwaves, etc.
Prepare emergency kits
No one can be fully prepared for unpredictable natural phenomena, but you can control what your family should do during and after an emergency. There might come a time when you might have to ask them to help treat a wound or fracture or how to call for help when you are injured or immobilized. Older children should know basic first aid and how to use a flashlight or emergency light, mobile phone, and to pack light essentials in a few minutes.
Let them participate in emergency preparation
Ask the children to help identify items needed for an emergency including where to find flashlights or emergency lights, finding the emergency exits and stairs, and what to bring during an evacuation. Letting them read a checklist can keep their minds preoccupied to avoid panic.
Don’t forget to plan where to meet and how to get there in case you get separated during an evacuation. Children should be familiar of the escape/evacuation routes in the apartment complex. You can do this by drawing a map or showing them where the stairs and exits are. Role-playing is also a fun way to help them remember the information.
Prepare them for school
Schools occasionally schedule a drill, but you can also help b using the same techniques needed at home. They should have your contact number and address at all times in case they get separated. If possible, you can post important information such as blood type and allergies on the child’s identification.
Teach them when to call for help
What if your child encounters another person who might be in need of help? Children should be taught how to assess an emergency situation without having to use a lot of medical terms. It can be as simple as pointing out that if someone is lying down on the ground, the person might need help.
Before calling for help, however, remind them that they should be somewhere safe before calling for help. Then, make them remember and understand keywords such as “ambulance” and “emergency” if their vocabulary is limited.