Children (0-18 years of age) are highly vulnerable during
natural disasters. Under normal circumstances, their parents,
guardians, teachers, or primary caregivers supervise children.
After a disaster, all or some of these important relationships
might suddenly collapse.
If children are in your care, it is important that you:
- Supervise them
- Provide a secure and safe environment
- Make sure all possible safety precautions are taken
- Have first aid equipment available; and
- Know what to do in an emergency situation.
To learn more about first aid, you can attend classes at
locations throughout Queensland, and courses can be tailored to
your specific needs. First aid certificates should be renewed every
Show children how to practice squatting low to the ground to be
the smallest target possible for lightening in case they get caught
outside during a thunderstorm. Show them how to place their hands
on their knees with their head between the knees.
Include children and young people when making rules or
guidelines about their safety and wellbeing, during and after
severe weather. People are more likely to follow rules they have
helped to make. Keep your plans simple and clear so everyone
Give good reasons for each rule. People are more likely to
follow rules that have good reasons. For example, explain that high
winds bring down trees and power lines and explain the potential
dangers of electrocution.
Having to leave a treasured pet behind during an evacuation can
cause terrible anguish for everyone, but especially kids. Prepare
your children well and explain when and why pets might have to stay
behind. Allow them to say goodbye and reassure them the family will
be reunited once the event has passed.
Have just a few rules and stick to them. Too many rules can be
confusing. Be clear about what will happen if people do or do not
follow a rule. Teach their children skills and strategies to
identify, avoid or respond to risky or harmful situations.
Disaster readiness might appear a difficult topic to discuss
with your children, but it is essential for their safety. Your
children will appreciate a direct, honest manner. Tell them about
your emergency plan, so that they can face an emergency situation
in a calm, more capable manner.
Make certain that children are familiar with your plan, for each
type of emergency you're likely to experience in your area. Key
elements of any school or home emergency plan should include: what
to do, where to meet, who to call, and how to communicate.
You can't assume that an adult will be present during an
emergency situation. By including your children in emergency
planning they will know what choices to make and what you expect of
them. Children should be taught exactly where to go, what to do,
and how to communicate during a crisis. Emergency plans should be
reviewed with children on a regular basis to make sure that they
don't forget important information, or get confused when
Ask your children for their input when you create your
Household Emergency Plan, so that they remember it
more clearly when the time comes to implement the plan. Make sure
children know where your Emergency Kit and Evacuation Kit are
Ask your kids questions such as:
- Where in town is a good place for us to meet if there is ever a
- Do you know how to get there by yourself?
- Who is out-of-town or local person to call if we cannot find
- Where do you have their phone numbers written down?
- Do you know the emergency number (000) and when to call
Children need to be told about different disasters that could
affect them and they need to feel safe. Try to be supportive and
reassuring and listen to their questions.
Quiz your kids every six months so they remember what to do,
meeting places, phone numbers, and safety rules.
During times of stress, children love to have their favourite
dummy, cuddly toy, or security blanket with them for comfort; so
don't forget those. Small toys or games will provide entertainment
and keep kids calm, during a stressful time.
If your child has a chronic illness or special needs, there are
several steps that you can take to better prepare for medical
emergencies. The most important is the preparation of an emergency
treatment plan. Other steps include:
- Registering your information with your state emergency
- Arranging for your family, neighbour and child's teachers to
receive basic emergency training
- Preparing an overnight bag with their essential support items
to take to hospital or elsewhere
- Meeting with your local SES team to discuss and share your plan
Consider possible scenarios, problems and solutions and make
sure your family and friends understand the challenges that concern
you so that they can provide help and support, if needed. Most
people won't hesitate to help, so long as they understand what's
expected of them.