By Carolyn Miles, President and CEO of Save the Children
With experts calling Hurricane Harvey an "astounding storm" that poses a serious threat to hundreds of thousands of families and children in Texas and Louisiana, we at Save the Children are urging families and caregivers to talk to their children about the hurricane and take immediate steps to keep them safe. Here are our tips for parents:
Prepare Your Kids Now for Hurricane Harvey
• Talk About Hurricane Harvey — Take time to explain to children that a hurricane is a natural event and not anyone’s fault. Use simple words that even young children can understand. Let them know your top priority is to keep your children safe.
• Know Your Risk — Find out if you live in Hurricane Harvey’s evacuation area. Assess your risks from a storm surge, flooding or wind damage that may accompany a hurricane.
• Stay Informed — Use a NOAA Weather Radio or listen to a local station on a portable, battery-powered radio or television. Be ready to act if a Hurricane Warning is issued.
What to Do During Hurricane Harvey
• Evacuate If Instructed To Do So — Evacuate if told to do so by local authorities or if you feel unsafe. If advised to evacuate, avoid flooded roads and watch for washed-out bridges. Local officials may close certain roads, especially near the coast, when effects of the hurricane reach the coast.
• Stay Indoors, If Not Evacuated — If you are not advised to evacuate, or are unable to do so safely, stay indoors, away from windows, skylights and doors. Continue to monitor weather reports and do not go outside until the storm has passed.
What to Do After Hurricane Harvey
• Limit Media Exposure — Protect children from seeing too many sights and images of the hurricane, including those on the internet, television or newspapers.
• Ensure Utilities Are Available — Before children are returned to areas impacted by Hurricane Harvey, make sure utilities, such as electricity and plumbing, are restored and living and learning spaces in homes, schools, child care facilities are free from physical and environmental hazards.
• Involve Children In Recovery — After a hurricane, let children help in clean-up and recovery efforts in age-appropriate ways as this participation may increase their sense of control over the situation.
Save the Children gives children in the United States and around the world a healthy start, the opportunity to learn and protection from harm. We invest in childhood — every day, in times of crisis and for our future. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.