Large earthquakes continue to wreak havoc across the United States and abroad, and the U.S. Geological Survey has increased the likelihood that the “Big One” will hit California within the next few decades.
In addition to earthquakes, the CDC warns of other deadly disasters, like tsunamis, wildfires, extreme winter weather and infectious diseases. Meantime, the State Department seems to constantly be issuing new warnings about terrorist threats to Americans.
Catastrophe can strike at any moment. Are you prepared? Are your kids? You need to evaluate your current survival plan and update your emergency preparedness kit. You don’t want to be caught without some of these must have items to survive disaster.
It’s also a great time to educate your kids on survival preparedness and practice your family disaster plan. Involve your kids in putting together and packing their personal bug out bag. Here is everything you should include in your kids’ emergency pack.
Begin with an ordinary school backpack that is not obnoxiously huge and doesn’t stand out. It should be comfortable and not too heavy for your child, because they may have to travel long distances on foot. Let your child choose the bag to help them take ownership of it. Update the pack every six months to ensure all contents are fresh.
(Water is an absolute must for your bag, in addition to these essentials:)
(Enough to last three days, including the following:)
- Protein/energy bars
- Dehydrated meals
- Snacks (gum, hard candy)
(Depends on location and climate. Have the following:)
- Climate-friendly clothing (gloves, hat, coat if necessary)
- Change of clothing and underwear
- Spare glasses/sunglasses
- Hygiene kit that includes wipes, toothbrush and paste, hand wash
- Pocket tissue packs
- Extra medication as needed
(Parents can carry the majority of survival items, but kids should have a few in case of separation, including:)
- Small flashlight or headlamp
- Survival whistle
- Small first aid kit (you can carry the big one)
- Hand sanitizer
- Swiss Army knife for older kids
- Emergency glow sticks
- N95 Respirator Dust Mask
- Emergency blanket
- Pepper spray
Entertainment/ Comfort Items:
- Stuffed bear or toy
- Playing cards
- Brain games and activities
- Coloring book and crayons
Information and Communication
Laminate emergency contact information, including parents’ names, phone numbers and a home address. Also include information for a few close relatives or friends, while including a photo of your child and his or her family members and friends to serve as identification.
Map out directions to different chosen bug-out locations in case your child gets separated from you, and put copies in their packs.
Pack a prepaid mobile phone or satellite phone to ensure they will be in communication with someone at all times.
Stocking up on supplies is easy. But when the time comes to grab the packs and go, it’s best if the family has run through certain scenarios to know exactly where to go and how to get there.
Practice test runs to the mapped out locations you’ve chosen to retreat to when a disaster strikes and be sure the kids could make it there on their own.
The threat of natural and man-made disasters is real, but having supplies and a survival plan will put you ahead of the pack when running for the hills. Get your kids involved so everyone makes it out alive.