Hurricane season officially kicks off on June 1, and doesn’t end until November 30. Are you ready? It’s time to get prepared!
FOR THE KIDS…
Talk About Hurricanes. It’s recommended that you use age-appropriate descriptions of what to expect if big storm is coming. Older kids may want to read about them for themselves on sources like WeatherWizKids.com. It’s also important to assure kids that adults will do their best to keep them safe.
Try to Remain Calm Yourself. Kids can easily sense the emotions of those around them. When a parent seems overly upset or worried, this can make a child’s own fears or worries worse.
Let Kids Help With Pre-storm Preparations. Keeping them busy can help keep kids’ minds off of their worries. Helping prepare in age-appropriate ways also can increase a child’s sense of control over the situation. Some ways to involve your kids:
- Prepare a family disaster emergency kit. Kids can help collect canned goods and get flashlights ready.
- Have your kids help bring outdoor items inside.
- Discuss your family’s disaster plan together. Will you need to evacuate — and what would that look like? Which grown-ups will do what? This will help kids know what to expect.
During the Storm:
- Let kids pick a few comfort items, non-electronic games, and toys in case of power outages.
- Try to keep as normal a routine as possible. This can help children feel calm and safe.
- Encourage kids to talk about their feelings or thoughts about what’s happening. Some kids might prefer not to talk right away — and that’s OK too. Spend time together and let them know that you’re there when they’re ready.
After the Storm:
- Monitor media exposure. There can be “too much coverage” leading up to and especially after a hurricane hits. These images might be too much for young eyes and sensitive hearts.
- Let children help with clean-up.
- Pay attention to signs of stress, including nightmares, regressive behavior/acting younger than their age, and extra clinginess. These are common in children who’ve gone through a traumatic event. If you see any of these signs, talk to your doctor and know that trained counselors can help.
FOR THE ADULTS…
The Red Cross’ Hurricane Prep Checklist:
Before the storm:
- Be sure your homeowner’s insurance covers flooding associated with big storms! Talk to a local agent or visit the National Flood Insurance Program at www.FloodSmart.gov.
- Talk with members of your household and create an evacuation plan.
- Get a NOAA Weather Radio for critical information from the National Weather Service.
- Learn about your community’s hurricane response plan. Plan routes to local shelters, register family members with special medical needs, and make plans for your pets to be cared for.
When the watches and warnings begin:
- Check your disaster supplies and replace or restock as needed.
- Bring in anything that can be picked up by the wind (bicycles, lawn furniture).
- Close windows, doors and hurricane shutters, or close and board up windows and doors with plywood.
- Turn the refrigerator and freezer to the coldest setting and keep them closed as much as possible so that food will last longer if the power goes out.
- Turn off propane tanks and unplug small appliances.
- Fill your car’s gas tank.
- Evacuate if advised by authorities. Be careful to avoid flooded roads and washed out bridges.