September is National Preparedness Month. In honor of that, my family and I sat down to review our emergency preparedness kit and family communication plan.
We took the kit out and looked through it. My husband pulled out some toddler food that our daughter used to enjoy, as she’s “too old for that, Mama. I’m a big girl now.” Out it went.
We noticed some canned goods were close to their expiration date. We swapped those for some fresh ones. We replaced the water. We added some new favorite foods - my child has discovered Nutella. My daughter took out a package of diapers and an old toy. She then added a stuffed bear and a puzzle, saying “I like these better.”
The bear and toy are a great idea for children. A comfort item can really help in an emergency situation.
We then looked at our family communication plan. Right away, we noticed some changes that needed to be made. My daughter has switched schools since the last time we updated the plan. And the neighbor whose house we planned to meet if we had to evacuate had moved. My four-year old suggested a friend’s house and we wrote it down.
We then decided to practice our evacuation plan. I set my phone’s alarm and we all went to separate areas in the house. Beep, beep, beep. “Mama, mama, let’s go,” shouted my daughter. I met her in the hallway and we headed out the door.
When my husband joined us a moment later, she asked him what took him so long. ‘Well, I went out the back,” he said. “I pretended I couldn’t get out the front door like you and mom.”
Of course, she wanted to do it again, leaving the house another way. Little did I know she and daddy decided the only way out was through the back bedroom window! While I waited at the neighbor’s house, they were having a grand time climbing out the window.
And it’s ok that they were having fun. The important thing was that we were practicing our evacuation plan. Her having fun just meant that she will remember it better. If the time comes when we need to evacuate, I am fairly certain she will know exactly what to do.
Get your family involved and make preparedness fun. If you don’t have a family communication plan or know what to put in your kit, visit the Arizona Emergency Information Network (AzEIN) website, for helpful preparedness information and resources.
For tips on what to put in your emergency supplies kit, Ready.gov has checklist. If you prepare together, everyone will better understand what to do if an emergency or disaster does strike.