Disasters can leave kids feeling frightened, confused, and insecure. Whether a child has personally experienced trauma, has merely seen the event on television or has heard it discussed by adults, it is important for parents and teachers to be informed and ready to help if reactions to stress begin to occur.
Children may respond to disaster by demonstrating fears, sadness or behavioral problems. Younger children may return to earlier behavior patterns, such as bed wetting, sleep problems and separation anxiety. Older children may also display anger, aggression, school problems or withdrawal. Some children who have only indirect contact with the disaster but witness it on television may develop distress.
For many children, reactions to disasters are brief and represent normal reactions to "abnormal events." A smaller number of children can be at risk for more enduring psychological distress as a function of three major risk factors:
In most cases, depending on the risk factors above, distressing responses are temporary. In the absence of severe threat to life, injury, loss of loved ones, or secondary problems such as loss of home, moves, etc., symptoms usually diminish over time. For those that were directly exposed to the disaster, reminders of the disaster such as high winds, smoke, cloudy skies, sirens, or other reminders of the disaster may cause upsetting feelings to return. Having a prior history of some type of traumatic event or severe stress may contribute to these feelings.
Children’s coping with disaster or emergencies is often tied to the way parents cope. They can detect adults’ fears and sadness. Parents and adults can make disasters less traumatic for children by taking steps to manage their own feelings and plans for coping. Parents are almost always the best source of support for children in disasters. One way to establish a sense of control and to build confidence in children before a disaster is to engage and involve them in preparing a family disaster plan. After a disaster, children can contribute to a family recovery plan.
Kid’s reactions are influenced by the behavior, thoughts, and feelings of adults. Adults should encourage children and adolescents to share their thoughts and feelings about the incident. Clarify misunderstandings about risk and danger by listening to children’s concerns and answering questions. Maintain a sense of calm by validating children’s concerns and perceptions and with discussion of concrete plans for safety.
Listen to what the child is saying. If a young child is asking questions about the event, answer them simply without the elaboration needed for an older child or adult. Some children are comforted by knowing more or less information than others; decide what level of information your particular child needs. If a child has difficulty expressing feelings, allow the child to draw a picture or tell a story of what happened.
Try to understand what is causing anxieties and fears. Be aware that following a disaster, children are most afraid that:
Suggestions to help reassure children include the following:
If you have tried to create a reassuring environment by following the steps above, but your child continues to exhibit stress, if the reactions worsen over time, or if they cause interference with daily behavior at school, at home, or with other relationships, it may be appropriate to talk to a professional. You can get professional help from the child’s primary care physician, a mental health provider specializing in children’s needs, or a member of the clergy.
News coverage related to a disaster may elicit fear and confusion and arouse anxiety in children. This is particularly true for large-scale disasters where significant property damage and loss of life has occurred. Particularly for younger children, repeated images of an event may cause them to believe the event is recurring over and over.
If parents allow children to watch television or use the Internet where images or news about the disaster are shown, parents should be with them to encourage communication and provide explanations. This may also include parent’s monitoring and appropriately limiting their own exposure to anxiety-provoking information.
Parents help their children when they take steps to understand and manage their own feelings and ways of coping. They can do this by building and using social support systems of family, friends, community organizations and agencies, faith-based institutions, or other resources that work for that family. Parents can build their own unique social support systems so that in an emergency situation or when a disaster strikes, they can be supported and helped to manage their reactions. As a result, parents will be more available to their children and better able to support them. Parents are almost always the best source of support for children in difficult times. But to support their children, parents need to attend to their own needs and have a plan for their own support.
Preparing for disaster helps everyone in the family accept the fact that disasters do happen, and provides an opportunity to identify and collect the resources needed to meet basic needs after disaster. Preparation helps; when people feel prepared, they cope better and so do children.
The compassion and generosity of the American people is never more evident than after a disaster. People want to help. Here are some general guidelines on helping others after a disaster:
Financial contributions to a recognized disaster relief organization are the most effective donation to make.
When the public supports these voluntary organizations with financial contributions, it helps ensure a steady flow of important services to the people in need after a disaster.
Volunteer with a recognized organization involved in disaster response and recovery prior to the next disaster event.
The generosity and kindness of people around the country does a lot to help communities heal from the tragic consequences of disasters.
Learn ways that you can effectively help others after a disaster. Please note that it is best to confirm what is needed before taking action.
Everyone is moved when they hear the news that disaster has struck a community. By learning the best ways to donate and volunteer, we can all make a huge difference in the lives of those affected.
Don’t wait any longer! Start protecting your family by ordering your shelter today!
Are you the type of person who likes to be prepared for any situation? We are too! Check out our list of severe weather, disaster, and survival apps to stay alert and prepared.
Please note that you will need to check each to see the compatibility with your iOS or Android device.
Tornado season usually happens during the springtime, but those of you who live in tornado alley can attest to the fact that a tornado can occur any time, any place. It's important that you and your family have a plan that includes a designated safe spot in your house if a tornado occurs. There are several things to keep in mind as you designate a safe place to go.
Protect your head and body with pillows, blankets or mattresses. If you have small children or pets, make sure they are well protected. Keep a flashlight and a cell phone with you, preferably in your pocket. That way you can call someone for help if you're trapped, and you will have a flashlight which will help you be found. A battery-powered radio or television is also good to keep in your safe place to stay well-informed.
Interior Room - If you do not have a basement or a storm shelter, you should go to an interior room that is on the lowest level of the home - a closet or bathroom is best. You can also go to an interior hallway in a building on the lowest level. You should stay away from windows, exterior walls and doorways. Stay out of large rooms such as auditoriums, the middle of a grocery store or large hallways. The smaller the room or hallway, the better. If there is a heavy piece of furniture in the room, take cover under it.
Basement - If you don't have a storm shelter, the basement is the next best thing to a tornado shelter. If there are windows in your basement make sure to stay away from them.
Storm Shelters - One of the safest places to be when a tornado hits is in a storm shelter. We have many varieties to choose from depending on the setup of your home. Below are the storm shelters we can install:
Never try to outrun a tornado. Do not stand by a window nor stand out on the porch trying to record or take pictures. If under a tornado warning, get to your storm shelter or safe place immediately! If you follow these tips, you will maximize your chances of being safe during a tornado!
Is your business prepared for a major storm? Is your business prepared to protect your customers, employees, and even your own life in the event that a tornado is coming? Many people have storm shelters in areas that are heavily hit with tornados, but very few businesses have tornado shelters. Many restaurants have walk-in refrigerators, and employees can get inside of those, but what about all of the other businesses out there? If you are a business owner, read on – it could save the lives of you, your employees and your customers!
The best way to ensure your business is ready for a tornado is to have an emergency preparedness plan. When dealing with a tornado this action plan should identify a place to take shelter, how community tornado warning systems will be monitored and how to account for all people during a tornado. Make sure all employees know of this plan, and have surprise practice drills. If you have a large number of employees, it makes sense to nominate several leaders and divide everyone into groups.
During a tornado the best shelter is an underground area, such as a basement or a storm shelter. However, if this type of structure is not available consider the following:
When choosing a shelter make sure it has no windows and avoid structures with flat, wide-span roofs. Also try to stay in the center of the room. Ensure the shelter location is stocked with adequate emergency supplies.
If caught outdoors away from a designated shelter try to get to a suitable shelter as quickly as possible. If this is not possible here are two options:
The following steps are recommended to help ensure the safety of personnel if a tornado occurs:
This plan should be reviewed with employees on an annual basis and updated whenever a change occurs within your company. Remember, a tornado can occur at any time, any place. Make sure to protect your employee using these recommended guidelines.
No one ever wants to be in a situation where they have to drop everything and leave in an emergency. However; given the increasing concerns today, many people choose to prepare themselves just in case.
Most people are not super paranoid, but if you take a rational look at the world and make some basic steps to protect yourself by building a bug-out-bag, you could help protect you and your family in an emergency.
Sometimes people make bug-out-bags for fear of a big and dramatic event initiating the end of civilization. But there are many more common events that happen all of the time that would make having a bug-out-gag well worth it. These events include:
There is a wide selection of off the shelf bug-out-bags that are sold online and if you are not interested in individually picking out the bag essentials, this is a good option. However; because they are mass produced and sold to the general public they often do not include options for your specific location. For example, you would not have the same supplies if you lived in the desert versus living by water. Also, you should make sure to pack enough supplies for your entire family. Pre-packaged bug-out-bags may not include enough supplies if you have a larger family.
Regardless of any variables, there are some simple rules that you should observe when deciding on the content of your bug-out-bag. Please see below:
Below are some of the essentials every bug-out-bag should include. Please remember to customize this to fit with your family.
Hopefully you will never be put in a situation where you are forced to flee your home. But, as you can see with some basic planning you can take steps to ensure the safety of you and your family.
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