As the first major storm of the season strengthens and approaches the East Coast, Save the Children urges parents and caregivers to talk to their children about hurricanes and take immediate steps to keep kids safe. Save the Children is the national leader for protecting children in emergencies, and here are our tips:
Prepare Your Kids Now for Hurricane Dorian
- Talk about Hurricane Dorian: Take time to explain to your children that a hurricane is a natural event and not anyone’s fault. Using simple, age-appropriate words and explanations about what disasters are or what happened during a disaster can give them a sense of understanding and control. Let them know your top priority is to keep them safe.
- Reassure Kids: Let your children know you’re planning ahead to keep them safe. Reassure them that during an emergency, many caring adults — including parents, teachers and first responders — will be working to keep them safe.
- Identify Evacuation Routes: Find out if you live in a Hurricane Dorian evacuation area, and assess your risks from a storm surge, flooding or wind damage. Together with your kids, identify the best evacuation routes, so you can all be ready to evacuate quickly and safely.
- Fill out Contact Cards: Make Emergency Contact Cards for all your children, which include three emergency contacts that any first responder or caregiver can reach out to, in case you are separated during the hurricane. Since local power and phone service can be disrupted during emergencies, it’s also important to have one out-of-town contact. Practice learning these numbers with your children.
- Pack a ‘Go-Bag’: Put together a “Go Bag” with each of your children, which can include a favorite stuffed animal and the comforts of home, as well as an emergency contact card and activities to pass the time, like books or games, if you need to evacuate to a shelter. Every family should also have an emergency preparedness kit, complete with nonperishable food items, a flash light, medicine and other medical supplies, water and personal hygiene items like baby wipes and hand sanitizer.
What to Do During Hurricane Dorian
- 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 Dorian
- 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 Dorian, make sure utilities, such as electricity and plumbing, are restored and living and learning spaces in homes, schools, and 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 believes every child deserves a future. Since our founding 100 years ago, we’ve changed the lives of more than 1 billion children. In the United States and around the world, we give children a healthy start in life, the opportunity to learn and protection from harm. We do whatever it takes for children – every day and in times of crisis – transforming their lives and the future we share.