Tue | Aug 22, 2017

Preparing your children for a Storm

Published:Thursday | June 30, 2016 | 6:00 AM
Children play on the sands of the Caribbean Terrace community amid the remains of homes destroyed by hurricanes over the past decade.
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With Child Month just a month in the background, a new Atlantic Hurricane Season is now under way.

This perennial event can prove to be very frightening for adults, let alone for the smallest and most vulnerable among us.

Already, Tropical Storm Colin formed in the Gulf of Mexico and brought heavy showers to sections of Florida and other localities. So, with more than four months remaining in this not-so-merry season, it is useful to adequately prepare your children by employing the following tips in the event of a disaster:

 

1. PREPARE THEM

 

Talk to your children about hurricanes. Spend ample time with your children discussing the basics of why storms and hurricanes occur and reassure them by explaining in simple terms that a hurricane is a natural event. Notify them of the possibility that after a hurricane, things may be very chaotic, and they may see roofless houses, blown-down fruit trees, damaged vehicles and lots of flood waters in their home or community.

Many children today have never experienced a hurricane in Jamaica. Explain to them what may happen to allay fears and manage expectations. Perhaps you can turn the explanation into a fun activity, allowing them to write a story about a hurricane coming to Jamaica and how a family should prepare.

 

2. SAFETY FIRST

 

Children must be warned to stay away from glass windows and doors during a hurricane. Let them know that it is acceptable to hide in a closet, under a table or bed if they see falling debris or objects. Also, they must never attempt to go outdoors without the supervision of an adult, as they can be seriously injured by falling trees or downed power lines.

 

3. PRACTISE EVACUATION DRILLS

 

If you live in a high-risk area where flooding occurs easily, let your children know you will have to pack up and move away with them in the event of a flood. Teach your children a predetermined evacuation plan so that during an emergency you can leave quickly and safely. Additionally, let your child or children know that if they are at school at the time a hurricane threatens, you will be sure to pick them up at the earliest possible time.

 

4. ENTERTAINMENT

 

Explain to your children that lack of electricity will mean no television and video games, and possibly the loss of Internet services. This may be an opportune time for some family fun, which may entail other toys and books that are otherwise seldom used.

 

5. CLEANING UP

 

After a hurricane, let children help in clean-up and recovery efforts in safe, age-appropriate ways. They may enjoy the participation and it can increase their sense of control over the situation.

- Contributed by Weather Data Associates