A Children in Crisis Forum held in Fairfield CT in the after math of 9-11. The forum was led by Neil Boothby and members of the US programs. Photo Credit: Susan Warner/Save the Children 2001.

A 'Children in Crisis Forum' held in Fairfield CT in the aftermath of 9-11. The forum was led by Neil Boothby and members of the US programs.

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10 Tips for Helping Children Cope with Terrorism

Terrorists often use violence and threats to create fear among the public. Their attacks can leave people with feelings of uncertainty about the future and further attacks. These 10 tips from Save the Children’s emergency response experts can help keep children safe during acts of terrorism, and support them before an act of terrorism occurs.

  1. Talk about terrorism.
    Spend time with your family and identify your children’s fears of terrorists or terrorist incidents. Explain there are always good people who try to prevent terrorism and who help after an incident. Use simple words that even young children can understand.
  2. Plan different travel routes.
    Develop alternative routes to and from school, work, childcare and other places to which you routinely travel. Have all drivers in your household practice them.
  3. Stay informed.
    Routinely listen to a local radio or television news station. Learn your community’s public warning system such as sirens or telephone call-down systems. Become familiar with how warning signals sound and what you should do if they are used.
  4. If you see something, say something.™
    If you see something suspicious report it to law-enforcement or security personnel immediately. Move or evacuate if you feel uncomfortable or if something doesn’t seem right. Encourage children to tell an adult if they see something unusual or suspicious.
  5. Learn where to shelter-in-place.
    Choose a household room where the family could shelter-in-place during a terrorist attack. Gather and prepare the items needed to seal the room from gas or chemicals (i.e., include duct tape, plastic sheeting in your disaster supplies kit). Have enough food and water for each family member for three days.
  6. Learn CPR and First Aid.
    Being trained on how to give basic medical treatment is one of the best ways to be prepared for a range of emergencies – not just terrorism. These skills could help save a child’s life.
  7. Learn caregivers’ disaster plans.
    Find out how school and childcare emergency plans address possible terrorist incidents. Ask about evacuation plans are and if you would be required to pick up your children from the site or from another location.
  8. Identify evacuation routes.
    Learn where emergency exits are located in buildings you often go to, such as workplace, school, childcare facility or community center. Plan how to get out in the event of an emergency.
  9. Plan ahead.
    Be prepared to do without services you normally depend on—electricity, phones, natural gas, gasoline pumps, cash registers, ATMs, and Internet transactions. (Remember, texts may go through more effectively than calls in an emergency.) Pack essential supplies in a family disaster supplies kit and store in an easily accessible location.
  10. Limit media exposure.
    After a terrorist incident, protect children from seeing too many sights and images of the incident, including those on the Internet and TV..

If you see something, say something™ is a trademark of the Department of Homeland Security.


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