Disaster Preparedness Measures Your Family Should Take
The World can be a horrible place.
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I mean, it’s not all horrible, we’ve been to Disney World, but it seems every time you turn on the news something horrendous has happened.
It’s even scary to simply watch the news with your child anymore, because you’re never quite sure what will be said or shown.
Then there’s the issue of going out into this scary world with the things you hold most dear: your babies.
Hubs has a saying from the military: “Keep your head on a swivel.” And it’s so accurate. You have to constantly be aware of what and who are going on around you.
As our family is active and we enjoy going on adventures, we have to be even more weary of our surroundings. We regularly end up in large transportation hubs and at even larger, adventurous destinations.
Along the way we’ve come to figure a few things out about disaster preparedness for our family.
Disaster Preparedness Measures
By the time #1 could form sentences we explained Stranger Danger to him. We went about it in the most positive way, so as not to instill complete fear of the outside world in him, but to make sure he understood.
We started by explaining that there are bad people in the world. People that might want to take him because he’s so cute. People that might want to trick him by offering candy, food, toys, or puppies.
We quizzed him on ‘What If’ scenarios: ‘What if someone said they wanted to show you their puppy, would you go with them?’ ‘What if they offered you candy?’ ‘What if they said they had all the color changing Disney Pixar Cars toys?’
Thankfully, he passed with flying colors!
We also explained that if someone said those things or tried to grab him that he should start screaming, kicking, biting, whatever he had to do to get help. We have no worry knowing that he’ll be able to do that. We’ve seen his middle-of-Target meltdowns and know what he’s capable of.
Our family code word was actually created thanks to our local YMCA. When we signed up for summer camp they asked for a code word that will be used at pick-up each day. This word is used to verify that the child is going with who they are supposed to go with.
It only took us moments to come up with our code word, which I’m not going to share here, because, well, it’s a secret.
You should take a moment with your family to come up with a code word. Something that can be passed along from family member to family member to let them know that everything is okay.
#1 doesn’t have a cell phone, I mean, he’s only three years old. It will still be a long time until he does. Though, he does have the ability to let an adult know that he needs to call home and wherever he is should have our contact information, otherwise we wouldn’t leave him there.
If ever he feels like he’s in danger or unsafe in any way and doesn’t want to come right out kicking and screaming and biting, he can have an adult call us and he can use our Danger Word.
That word will let us know that something isn’t right. That he needs us immediately.
This works great for children with cell phones who can text. But until then, it’s a matter of relaying the information secretly.
Having a Danger Word is also beneficial for Hubs and I. If the word is used in a setting, it lets the other know that something is up, something isn’t right, and we need to leave immediately, no questions asked.
Hubs and I make it a habit to let the other person know where and when we’re going, if we’re headed somewhere separately. We’re both good at letting the other know when we’re on our way home with a text that says “omw,” or ‘on my way.’ That way we know what’s up if we’re taking too long or we don’t show up when we’re supposed to.
As a matter of fact, one day, Hubs and #1 went to the gym and Hubs didn’t text with his “omw” at his regular time and wasn’t answering his phone. After a while I panicked. What if they’d gotten in a wreck or something was wrong with #1? What if?
I called the gym and as soon as they answered Hubs was calling me back. He’d lost the key to his locker and couldn’t get to his phone and was searching the gym floors to try to find it.
But, as a Mom, I’m sure you know how that is. The fear of “Where is my baby?”
In the Moment Meeting Place
Another thing to consider is determining a meeting place. Now, this is usually put into place with a fire evacuation plan, which you should totally have. But, there are other scenarios where you should determine a meeting place as well.
Amusement parks and outdoor festivals are one of them. What if a member of the family gets lost or separated? What if our phones die or we can’t get signal? Where will we meet?
Make sure to choose a safe location, off the beaten path. And make sure your children know that going to the spot is important, but finding a security guard, police officer or staff member is just as equally important.
Keep in mind that those employees may be required to take your missing child to a secure location until you can be located, but let your child know that they should tell the employee about the special meeting place, too. Smaller festivals may not have an HQ or emergency location, but an employee may be more than happy to wait with your child at the meeting spot.
Extreme Meeting Place
Something else to consider is if you and your family are separated by much more distance. What if one of you is traveling for work when a natural disaster occurs and you can’t gain access to your regular routes. What if cell phone service blacks out completely. How will you reach each other?
Before every large separation you should choose a meeting point. But you should also make a plan for any daily separation. Choose a meeting place in town, in the state, and out of state. Make a plan to know which location to go to based on where you’re supposed to be starting from.
If I’m at the grocery store, and Hubs is at home, we’re going to meet somewhere in town.
Say Hubs is traveling a few hours away for a job interview and I’m home with #1, where in the state will we meet?
Hubs could be off to visit his family with #1 while I’m stuck working, where in the U.S. will we meet?
Disaster Preparedness Factors
I know there are lots of factors to consider when it comes to disaster preparedness. But, the fact of the matter is, the world is becoming a dangerous place and we need to prepare for the worst.
I’m not trying to scare you, I’m just trying to help you get prepared. I’ve said it before: Mommin’ ain’t easy!
Soon, I’ll be posting about a family file and file box organization that will also help in times of disaster. Stay tuned, but start planning your code words and meeting spots now.
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