Natural disasters and the need for an emergency evacuation can occur at anytime and anywhere. Although some areas are more prone to certain types of disasters, it is important to prepare kids of all ages for any kind of emergency. When it comes to preparing for disasters, natural or otherwise, it is vital to have your entire family ready. The most important factors of preparing for a disaster are having practice drills and making bug out bags for each member of the family. These tips will help your children learn how to pack their own personalized bug out bag.
During an emergency situation it is important for your kids to feel prepared and safe. Having their own bug out bag packed with items they are familiar with as well as the necessities for survival, it can help them feel more secure. When selecting the bag for your children to carry, back packs work the best, because they are lightweight and easy to carry. Children’s bags should only contain basic gear, so pack heavy items in adult bags. Kids name labels are a great way to keep each child’s bag and bug out items separate for each other. Allowing children to label their items also gets them excited to pack their bug out bag. Here are a few things you will want to include in your child’s bug out bag.
- Comfort items. These items will vary according to the child’s age, but most children will want a small, lightweight toy, a fleece blanket, crayons, activity book, playing cards and an Ipod or other small device to play games on.
- Food and snacks. Snacks may include items such as trail mix, granola bars, hard candy, bubble gum, one or two bottles of water and drink mix packets. Pack at least one or two easy-to-open and eat meals, such as individualized MRE’s. Ideal meals for children are pre-cooked individual meals made to cook in the microwave (not frozen) that come in small, plastic containers, because they are pre-cooked and lightweight.
- Emergency Kit. Emergency kit items include band aids, antibiotic ointment, a couple of gauze pads and a small roll of paper tape.
- Each child’s bug out bag should include a flashlight, glow sticks, whistle, rain poncho, extra pair of socks, knit hat or bandana, gloves, goggles (kid-sized swimming goggles work well for children), dust mask, laminated emergency contact information (remember to include your pre-paid cell phone number), hand sanitizer, pre-paid cell phone and a small pocket knife for older children.
Keep in mind that a child’s bug out bag is not meant to be used as an adult bug out bag. The primary purpose of a child’s bag is to provide them familiar items to reduce their fear and to have the necessary items in case they become temporary separated from you. To help prepare your children for an emergency bug out, schedule regular disaster drills. Scheduling drills will help children understand that their safety depends on knowing the escape routes, where to go if a disaster occurs and how to find their bug out bags in case the power goes out.
About the Author: Rene is a freelance writer who frequently contributes information about the importance of effectively preparing family members for the possibility of a natural disaster.