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Make the Walk to School Safer for Your Child

You may remember walking to school when you were a child (up hill, both ways!) but today, not everyone feels safe letting their youngster make the trek on their own. Here are a few safety tips that will help ensure that your child gets to school safely.

Walking isn’t necessarily out of the question if the walk is short and your child is old enough. Typically, once a child is 9 or 10, he is old enough to be able to walk to school responsibly. To make that walk safer, walk with your child several times to be sure he knows the route. Point out traffic signs and lights, as well as potential hazards he should be aware of.

Teach your child to always use cross walks and only cross the street when the light is green (or if there is no traffic in the absence of a light). Look for areas with crossing guards and teach your child to always obey them.

Find out what other children live close to you that may also walk to school and create a “pool” of kids who will travel together. The old saying about safety in numbers is true, and someone is less likely to hurt a child in a group of other children. To make it even safer, parents may be able to take turns walking with the group.

If it will be dark while your child walks, make sure he has reflective clothing so it is easy to see him from a vehicle and give him a flashlight. Always have a plan for when your child will be home. If he will be late, make sure he knows to notify you beforehand. That way, if he is late, you know to look for him. An older child or teenager, you may feel safe giving them pepper spray for emergency protection. Make sure they know this is not a toy and teach them how to use it responsibly. Check local laws before carrying pepper spray. Another safety tool for any age is a safety whistle.

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As Summer Winds Down, Stay Prepared

Prepare so your camping fun isn't ruined by disasters.

Summer is almost over, and in some places kids have already gone back to school. Others are trying to squeeze in that last bit of fun before summer ends by going camping, boating, or hiking. This isn’t the time to forget about safety and preparedness. Have the right supplies so your summer ends on a positive note.

Always have a first aid kit sufficient for the number of people who are with you, as well as emergency supplies including water, high energy food, insect repellent, map, compass, knife, firestarter, a personal shelter and extra clothing.

Whatever activity you choose to pursue, make sure you have a plan. Spontaneity is fun, but you should still have a basic outline of where you will be and when you expect to be back. Give a copy of this plan to someone who isn’t going with you. If you are not back when expected, they should call for help.

Also, be aware of potential hazards in the area you plan to be. Monitor the weather with your weather radio, just in case an unexpected storm will require you to change your plans.

Make sure your summer ends as one full of great memories, not sad ones.

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Back to School Emergency Preparedness

does each classroom have an emergency kit

A school emergency doesn’t have to be a terrorist attack. It can be the flu spreading like wildfire through the school, it can be a tornado drill or it can be a bad ice storm that knocks out power. But no matter what kind of emergency strikes your child’s school, they should have an emergency plan.

Does your child’s school have an emergency plan in place? Have you asked? If not, find out if the school has a crisis team. You may be able to volunteer to help establish one if there isn’t one already in place.

A school crisis team should be responsible for teaching staff how to handle various disaster situations including:

  • Natural disasters
  • Severe weather
  • Fires
  • Chemical or hazardous material spills
  • Bus crashes
  • School shootings
  • Bomb threats
  • Medical emergencies
  • Student or staff deaths (suicide, homicide,
  • unintentional, or natural)
  • Acts of terror or war
  • Outbreaks of disease or infections

According to the Department of Education, each event can be handled by breaking it down into the following sequence of crisis management.

1. Mitigation/Prevention addresses what schools and districts can do to reduce or eliminate risk to life and property.

2. Preparedness focuses on the process of planning for the worst-case scenario.

3. Response is devoted to the steps to take during a crisis.

4. Recovery deals with how to restore the learning and teaching environment after a crisis.

While you may not be involved in the actual crisis management planning, it is good to ask about these things for your own peace of mind. Find out how the school will handle various situations and how parents will be notified of disasters. Also make sure each classroom has a disaster kit and each teacher knows how to use it.

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Very Active Hurricane Season Expected

2013 hurricane season is expected to be very active

As we approach the peak of hurricane season, which began on June 1, NOAA has changed its earlier predictions. While they still expect this year to be above normal, it is expected that La Nina will be responsible for slightly reducing the number that was expected in the original forecast.

This year’s Atlantic season is expected to spawn 13 to 19 tropical storms, with 6 to 9 actually developing into hurricanes. This sounds similar to last year when there were 19 tropical storms and 10 hurricanes.

This year’s strongest storm is Hurricane Henriette in the Pacific, a Category 1 at the time of this writing. It is expected to strengthen as it approaches Hawaii. So far the Pacific has seen 8 tropical storms with 4 developing into hurricanes. The Atlantic has seen 4 tropical storms and no hurricanes – yet.

Are you prepared for hurricane season this year? Be sure to pay attention to the forecast and evacuate if directed to do so. Also, make sure you have the right supplies with a home survival kit that fits the size of your family and a hurricane kit to have the right tools to protect your home and family.

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Flooding Dangers Affect All

You may think you don’t have to worry about flooding, but did you know that 20% of National Flood Insurance Program claims are filed by people who do not live in high risk areas? That means, no matter where you live, you may have to deal with flooding at one time or another.

Flood insurance is a wise investment. The average claim is over $35,000 but the average policy is less than $700 a year. Your policy could be more or less depending on where you live, but people who live in low-risk areas have the lowest rates – as low as $129 a year.

There is little you can do to protect your property from a serious flood. Since flood do not give advanced warning, you may not have time to do much before your home is ruined. The best preparation is to be sure you are covered, just in case.

Do you have flood insurance?

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