When it comes to learning basic life skills, homeschooled kids may have an advantage over traditional learners since their parents make it a point to teach these skills as part of their curriculum. But apart from learning how to organize, budget, cook, and maintain a house and car, among others, it’s also important for teens to know what to do in case the unexpected happens. You never know when a basic knowledge of emergency response skills will come in handy.
Just last year, the US saw 18 climate disasters ranging from floods, storms, typhoons, droughts, hurricanes, and extreme heat waves. Moreover, experts say that climate change seems to be intensifying these extreme events, so being well-prepared to handle any disaster-related emergency should be a top priority. Here are some basic emergency response skills to teach your kids this year.
Heavy rainfall can result in damaged crops and property, and in extreme cases, it can even lead to flooding. If you’re in an area that’s prone to flooding, teach your kids to prepare for it just in case it happens. Some areas can experience floods that reach up to six feet, so instead of waiting it out, you should have an evacuation plan and brief your kids on it so they’ll know what to do in case you need to leave your home.
Each family member should have an emergency bag ready, and these bags should be filled with a few changes of clothing, some non perishable food, bottled water, medication, a flashlight with spare batteries, and a battery-operated radio. Place important documents like IDs and passports in a waterproof envelope and keep the envelope in one of the bags. In case it floods, remind your children not to stand in flood water since it can be contaminated or electrically charged due to downed power lines. They should also steer clear of fast moving flood water because it can knock them off their feet or sweep them away, even if its only a few inches of water.
Once the flood subsides, enlist older kids to help you look for safety hazards like broken items, as well as small creatures that may have been displaced by the water. Also, ask them to be on the look out for mold growth in your home since this can be hazardous to health. If the water is low enough to stay out of your property, start the restoration process to fix your home, such as water extraction and cleaning. Older children can help you do this, but it may be safer to call in experts to do water damage restoration for you.
Hurricanes and Tropical Storms
For those living in a place that experiences hurricanes and tropical storms, it’s important to have a storm shelter where you can wait it out until the storm has passed. If you don’t have one, find a room in the lowest level of your home that doesn’t have windows or glass doors, and designate this as your safe zone. Teach your children to head to this room immediately in case there’s a storm or hurricane brewing in your area. Your kids should also do their part to ensure that your storm shelter has adequate food and water supply, as well as medicine and power sources. If there’s enough time to evacuate, everyone should grab their own emergency bags and head to your car right away so you can get away from the path of the storm or hurricane.
Earthquakes and Tsunamis
Homeschoolers who live in earthquake-prone areas such as California, Alaska, Hawaii, and Nevada should make it a point to teach their children about what to do in case of an earthquake. Apart from preparing go bags, you should create an earthquake plan and brief your kids about the safe places in your home where they can take refuge, such as under a sturdy desk. Children should also be taught to stay away from outer walls since these could collapse on them, and they should never stand near windows in case they break. Meanwhile, young children should be taught to go to a specific area in the house where everyone can stay if an earthquake occurs.
For those living in places where tsunamis could occur such as California and Hawaii, it’s important to evacuate immediately in case of a tsunami warning. Everyone should get to high ground as soon as possible– you’ll need to identify possible places near your area where you can go in case of a tsunami and brief your kids about it. Also, children should be taught to drop, cover, and hold on if the tsunami is due to an earthquake.
You should also have an action plan in case everyone gets separated. Designate an out-of-area relative or friend that everyone can call to let them know about your location. This family member or friend can inform authorities about your situation, or they can find a way to get all of you together in one place. See to it that your kids know their number by heart, or write their number on a piece of sturdy cardboard or paper, then put it inside a waterproof bag before placing in your children’s go bag.
Climate change is making extreme weather events more intense and frequent, so being prepared for anything that happens should be a priority for all families. Teach your family members these basic emergency response skills to ensure that all of you stay safe in case of extreme climate events.