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Ask a specialist: what can I do to prepare my child for an emergency?

By CAROLYN WASHBURN
Utah State University Extension Family and Consumer Science Agent
Washington County

Emergency circumstances can create high amounts of stress for children. Whether it is a fire, flood, evacuation or earthquake, children need to know what to do and how to do it in order to minimize stress and anxiety.

It is important to first establish and practice home emergency plans. Early preparation will save fear, panic and possibly lives. Talk with your child about a preparedness plan. This plan should include evacuation routes and a meeting place.

Help your child prepare and store a 72-hour readiness kit so he or she knows where to access the kit if it becomes necessary. In addition to the necessary food items, consider including these items in an emergency kit for your child.

* Extra clothes and shoes (Store a sturdy pair of shoes under the bed for easy access.)

* Extra stockings

* Mittens, scarf, jacket

* A favorite toy, doll or stuffed animal

* Books and games

* Comfort food, hard candy, crackers, granola bars, dried fruit

* Bottled water

* Light stick or flashlight with spare batteries

* Whistle

* Paper with home address, phone number and parents' names

* $20 in small bills and coins

* Emergency contact number

* Toothbrush, toothpaste

* Comb, brush

* Small first-aid kit

* Space blanket

* Poncho

If we want our children to be successful during times of distress and emergencies, it is up to us to teach and prepare them. We can't prevent emergencies, but we can be prepared for them.




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