The realities of natural and man-made disaster incidents support the need to discuss emergency situations before they happen. We hear about the importance of personal preparedness and situational awareness when surviving life-threatening events on a continual basis. However, talking about potentially life-threatening situations can be frightening, and especially so for children. How can we do this without creating more fear?

We can begin by reminding children of their strengths. Kids are already great planners, having been taught routine and expectations by their families, friends, caregivers and teachers. For example, preschoolers are involved in the daily schedules and activities of their education. Once elementary school begins, homework is also added to the mix. Planning for emergency situations is an easy extra step in the overall development of your children.

Parents and caregivers start safety training early in a child’s life. Most have had discussions with their children on “Stranger Danger” and “Stop, drop and roll” before they have even started elementary school. These are lessons that can be used to introduce additional elements of emergency preparedness. By opening a dialogue, it can be simple to explore other emergencies and explain how to best respond.

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