10 Tips To Instill Emergency Preparedness In Your Kids

14 Apr 10 Tips To Instill Emergency Preparedness In Your Kids

National Public Safety Telecommunications Week runs between April 12th and April 18th this year. First and foremost, it is important to recognize the everyday heroes who service on the front lines and help keep our communities safe. 

Second, as a parent, it is crucial to ensure that your children are prepared- even from a young age- for any emergency that may arise. We have put together a list of 10 tips you can use to help your children learn, recall, and (if needed) implement these lessons.

  • Teach them what an emergency is. Go through a list of when it would be appropriate to call 911- A car crash, a medical emergency, a fire, a “bad man/woman” breaking into the house…
  • Teach them what is not an emergency. We all know the saying: “Kids say the darndest things!” Children have called 911 for a wide range of non-emergent situations before: For help with their homework, because mom/dad wouldn’t let them eat a snack right before dinner, because their stuffed animals have gone missing, and so on. Make them aware that calling 911 for non-emergencies is illegal and has its consequences. Quiz them by naming different scenarios and asking “Should you call 911 for this?”
  • Teach them the kind of questions that dispatchers and emergency responders might ask. “What is your full name?,” Where do you live?,” How old are you?,” What happened?,” “Is the door unlocked?,” “Who is with you?,” “Is anyone hurt?,” “Is the person in trouble breathing?,” or “What does the bad man/woman look like?”
  • Teach them the basics. Make sure they know the answer (or what to look for to obtain the answer) of these questions. Their full name, your first name, address, phone number, and so on. Teach them what kind of descriptive things to try to remember about a “bad man/woman”. To practice, ask them how they would describe you to an operator, with things like “What is my hair color? Is it straight or curly? What color am I wearing? Am I holding anything in my hands? Does my shirt have a picture on it?”, and you can also ask them comparative questions (This might be easier for them). For example,!“Does this person look daddy’s age, or a lot older?” 
  • Have a first aid kit and show them where it is. Although they may not be able to use all the supplies to save a life or treat an injury in an emergency, they should know where it is, so that they can bring it to you or to another adult on the scene.
  • Make sure they know how to call on a smartphone and a landline. Have them call another number- like a relative- using the dial pad (not from the “Contacts” list). Make sure they are able to do so by starting at the home screen. Take a screenshot of the keypad, go to your camera roll, and have them point to which numbers and buttons they would press to call 911 (to prevent them from accidentally calling). Even if you don’t have a landline, dialing is more straightforward, and they may be at a friend’s house or another place that does have one, so they should know how to dial 911 on those, too.
  • Go over possible emergency scenarios. Make sure that they would not only know to call 911 when emergencies take place, but they’d also know what other steps to take. Such as hiding during a break in, or escaping during a fire (lStop, Drop, and Roll!”) If you have older kids, make sure they can locate the fire extinguisher (or water if an extinguisher is unavailable). They should learn how to use the extinguisher.
  • Keep a list of important information and have a designated spot in the house for it. Have a list of emergency phone numbers and contacts, including your own. If the members of your household are on any medications, you should keep a list of those as well, and show your kids where it is in case they would ever need to share it with first responders.
  • Stranger Danger. This is one of the basic lessons we are taught as kids, and it is vital, especially in a time where technology is so accessible and the internet allows communication with anyone, that we continue to reinforce this message. 
  • Set an example when it comes to showing appreciation for first responders. If you see a police officer, firefighter, or EMT out and about, make it a point to thank them for helping to keep the community safe, and encourage your children to follow suit. Teach your kids that if they ever get lost, they should preferably look for a police officer or security guard for help.

    For resources on teaching your kids about calling 911, click here.

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