A street sign hangs among devastated New York homes in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy in 2012. The effects of a disaster can impact children long after the storm has past. Credit: Susan Warner.
The 2015 hurricane season has begun. The National Hurricane Center predicting six to 11 storms developing this year -- with three to six of them developing into hurricanes. As we approach the 10-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, Save the Children urges families and caregivers to take precautions to keep children safe.
Talk About Hurricanes — Spend time with your family discussing why hurricanes occur. Explain that a hurricane is a natural event and not anyone’s fault. Use simple words that even young children can understand.
Know Your Risk — Find out if you live in a hurricane evacuation area. Assess your risks from a storm surge, flooding or wind damage that may accompany a hurricane.
Practice Evacuation Drills — Practice your family evacuation plan so that, during an emergency, you can evacuate quickly and safely.
Learn Your Caregivers' Disaster Plan — If your child’s school or child care center is in an area at risk from hurricanes, find out how its emergency plans address hurricanes. Ask about evacuation plans and if you would be required to pick up your children from the site or from another location.
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.
During a Hurricane
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.
After A Hurricane
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 a hurricane, make sure utilities, such as electricity and plumbing, are restored and living and learning spaces (e.g., 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.
For More information, visit: www.savethechildren.org/GetReady