It’s back to school time again – and time to worry about what might happen while the kids are away from home! Have you ever dropped your kids off at school, and then worried about their safety during an emergency? What if there was an earthquake, or a tornado, and you had no way to contact your child – or they had no way to contact you?
While there is no definite way to protect your child from emergencies, there are several things you can do to prepare your child, so you can drop your kids off with a greater sense of security.
There are several things to put on your “checklist” when prepping your child for an emergency at school – from familiarizing him or her with the school’s emergency plans, to setting up a family emergency contact list. Each of these areas could make a big difference in the event of a real emergency!
Know Your School’s Emergency Plans
Give your child a brief walk-through of what the teachers and staff will most likely do at the time of an emergency, and how your child can cooperate with this pre-planned school emergency schedule. Every public school has a district-approved Emergency Response Plan, or ERP, and the staff and teachers practice the plan, so they are familiar with it at the time of a crisis.
Check here for a clear outline of an example ERP, so that as a parent, you can get a general idea – but you’re best served by finding your local school district’s specific plans, since it will include information about the emergencies that may be unique to your area.
Above all, make sure that your child knows to pay special attention to the teacher during an emergency, and to stick with the teacher and the class group, no matter what. Helping your little ones to memorize a prayer or a Bible verse could help them remain calm when they feel frightened. A good example of a ‘Be Brave’ Bible verse is in Psalm 34:7:
The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them.
What to Do While Waiting for Help?
Here’s where you come in, Mom. There are two things you can put in your child’s book bag or backpack in order to help physically prepare them for an emergency.
Item One: put together a small zip-closed bag with nonperishable food in it. A snack bar, a bag of nuts, or some other favorite and nutritious snack would be perfect for a time when food is unavailable. Just switch out the snacks once a week, to make sure it doesn’t get icky and stale. Now, I know for a fact that being hungry is the worst addition a crisis, and if kids don’t eat on-time, there may be another disaster, if you get my meaning.
Item Two: put a simple first aid kit into the bag, in an inside pocket with the snack pack. Tell your child the appropriate uses for the contents, and tell them to only use at the time of an emergency. Don’t include any medication, though – most schools ban medicines. A few bandaids and some gauze may be the limit of what you’re allowed to send along with your child. Ask your child’s school for specific policies.
Item Three: one of the best ways to prepare your child for an emergency during school hours is an informative emergency ID.
What’s an Emergency ID?
An emergency ID usually comes in the form of a bracelet or wristband, but can be as creative as Velcro straps that attaches to the child’s shoes. On the inside of a thin plastic card, you can include contact information to reach the (1) child’s legal guardian (2) other trusted contact, for example, Grandma or Aunt Sally. Don’t just include your phone number – add an out-of-town friend or relative, just in case of a severe weather event, or some other dire emergency that may prevent you from getting to your phone. As you help the child put on their ID, explain the point of wearing it, and emphasize that they should always wear the ID when going to school.
Preparing Kids for Emergencies
As a mom, you know that you can’t prepare your kids for everything – but you always want to do the best you can. If your kids are going to be in school, make sure they know who to contact in case of an emergency, especially if they can’t get ahold of you or Dad. If your kids know what to expect during a scary situation, they’re less likely to panic, and that’ll help everyone.
Are your kids ready for an emergency situation at school?