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7 Things You Can Do To Prepare Your Child for an Emergency

It’s vitally important that children understand how to properly respond to an emergency, whether that be a medical emergency, an accident in the home, a serious crime or the suspicious behaviour of people around the home. Additionally, in Australia, there’s the ever-real and ever-present threat of bushfires to worry about.

There are a number of things that all parents should be doing to help their child prepare to respond to these events. We’ve put together a 7 point guide on how to teach your child what to do in an emergency event.

Have a plan and rehearse it together, as a family

You should develop a clear plan of response to an emergency for the entire family, and make sure the whole family is familiar with what they should do, This should include what paths to take through or out of the house, how to move once outside, and what to take with them. Just as corporate offices will drill the fire safety measures once every six months or so, you should also rehearse the emergency plan with your children fairly regularly.

Prepare an emergency pack, and teach the kids about what’s in it

The family emergency pack should have all the basic essentials; bottles of water, a first aid kit, and long life food. Having the kids help to put the emergency pack together can be a fun way for them to learn about the basics of survival. You need to make sure the pack is stored in a place that all family members can reach if necessary.

Make the learning process fun

Children respond better to educational activities when they’re also being entertained. Thankfully the government provides a number of really useful tools to help make it fun for children to learn about safety. One such resource is the Triple Zero Kids Challenge, which is a downloadable application for phones and tablets that gives kids a game to play, that walks them through emergency response processes. Another useful resource is Fire Safe Kids, which is a free website that provides kids with games and other fun activities through which to learn about safety.

Check in on what the school is doing

Your child’s school should also have a safety program as part of the curriculum, and they’ll also have resources and information to use as part of that program. Check with the school on what they’re teaching, and looks for opportunities to make use of the school’s resources so that the information your child is getting at home is consistent with what the school is teaching them. The last thing you want with regards to emergency preparedness is your child to be confused on how to respond with mixed messages between you and their school.

Build your home to be as safe as possible

As they say, prevention is better than a cure, and that certainly applies to safety. Build your home to be safe; for example, the SecureView Fire & Emergency Escape screens have an easy unlock latch to allow for a really quick exit. These screens are also, however, extremely secure, having been built out of T316 Marine Grade Stainless Steel mesh, preventing unwanted objects (or people) from getting in.

There are a couple of different models of the Fire & Emergency Escape screens that are available, including Top or Side Hung, Outward Swinging, and Inward Swinging and Sliding. Regardless of which of these that you go with, make sure that your child understands how to work the screen quickly and efficiently, and knows the circumstances under which they should use it.

Make sure your children have alternative contacts

If, for whatever reason, an emergency separates your child from your family (perhaps the emergency happens while they’re at school, for example), it’s important that they have a back up contact, in the event that they can’t reach you. Give the child an emergency card that has the necessary contacts written out on it, however don’t just rely on this. Help the child run through some exercises so that they can also memorise the key phone numbers.

Have open and honest discussions with your child

Be available to answer any questions that a child might have about safety, and never dismiss them as trivial. Answer the questions calmly and thoughtfully, in a way that reassures the child that by sticking to the emergency response plan, the risk of harm is minimised.

Keeping your child safe in an emergency

Children that are not well-prepared for emergencies can endanger themselves, and their families. Confusion and fear can lead to either inaction or rash mistakes, and both of these can lead to disaster. However, children that have been properly prepared are much more likely to stay calm – and safe – regardless of the emergency in question.