In thinking about emergency planning for your family, schools play a very important role. Schools have become active in disaster preparedness and planning for all student ages.
Know Your School's Emergency Plans
For parents & guardians, know the emergency plans of your child's school. In an emergency, would the students be moved? If so, how will they be moved? If there is a need to be moved off the school campus, where is that location? The term "evacuation" may be used. Don't let that description scare your child - explain that it is a planning and preparedness term.
How will parents/guardians be notified that students are being moved? Some schools use electronic notifications - be aware if your school uses such a system and how to use/access that system. It is possible that students would remain at school; however, keep in mind that parents may not necessarily be able to pick them up. There are instances where keeping the students at school is the safest place for them.
Information Your Child Should Know
In case of an emergency and your child is not able to get home, where is another place he or she can go to and be safe while waiting for you? In emergency planning, a second location is something you should plan for in any type of emergency. It may be a family friend's home, a church, or a location that provides shelter in case of bad weather.
All students should know their parent's or guardian's names, addresses, and telephone numbers. They should be able to contact a second responsible adult. If possible, they should know the pertinent details of your family's emergency plan.
Keep a list of the student's allergies and medical conditions. Remember to list any medications that he or she is taking. Keep current on immunizations, vaccinations, and boosters including tetanus. Pre-school through college freshman have medical requirements; however, after the first year of college, there usually are not additional requirements.
Emergency Kits & Planning
Practice your emergency plans with your family and friends. If old enough, students should make their own emergency preparedness kit. Here are some emergency kit & planning suggestions for your student:
High School & Middle School Students:
For more information, go to School Safety during Emergencies: What Parents Need to Know
These kit suggestions are not necessarily complete but can be used as a starting point for your child's kit. Know the understanding and capabilities of your child & build the emergency kit to address his or her specific needs.
Remember, contact your child's schools to find out about their emergency preparedness plans and how they will communicate during an emergency.