Labor day has come and gone and our children are beginning a new school year. As parents, we have done everything we can to ensure that our children will have a safe, happy and successful start for this new school year. Or have we?
We helped our children pack their healthy lunches, we filled their reusable water bottles, we sent them with a special snack, and we ensured that their backpacks have all required books, binders and supplies. We walked our children to school – making sure we looked both ways as we crossed the street; we put them on the school bus – meeting the new bus driver; and we drove them to school, buckling them in carefully and following the new traffic pattern as we arrived at their school, ensuring that all children are safe in the school parking lot. And of course, we put their ICE card in a safe and easily findable spot in their backpack. ICE card? What’s that?
September is National Preparedness Month. In the first 5 days of the month of September, the United States already experienced 4 close calls with hurricanes, two on the west coast and two on the east coast – one of which made landfall as a hurricane; tropical storms, earthquakes, and forest fires. In August 2016 the “storm with no name” resulted in thousands of people in Louisiana being displaced from their homes, with many children not able to go back to school in September. While many or the problems and causes related to natural and manmade disasters are out of our hands, there are specific, concrete actions we can take to protect our families when disaster does strike. Back to school is a good time to take some of these precautionary actions for the first time or refresh our plans once again.
With the help of our friends at Save the Children, here are 3 easy actions that you can take TODAY:
1. Create an ICE (In Case of Emergency) card for each of your children and put it in their backpack. Save the Children has an easy to fill out form on line (your information is NOT saved on their site and your information IS secure).
2. Teach your children the “Prep Step.” Let Save the Children help.
3. Create a Family Preparedness Plan. What’s your “exit” plan from your home in case of an emergency? Who will you call if you are separated? Where will you meet if you have to get out of your home quickly? And more….
As Climate Mamas and Papas we know that as we live climate change, extreme weather events will increase and intensify. We are always “on the job” doing everything we can to slow down climate change and demand climate solutions. Through our actions – what we say and what we do – we show our children every day that their future and now is our top priority. Being prepared should also be one of the key things that we do to show our children that we are watching out for them.
Share some of the amazing tools that Save the Children has developed with your child’s teacher, their day care staff, and with your neighbors, family and friends. We all need to be prepared and “back to school” and National Preparedness Month are good opportunities and reminders to make sure we and our children are ready and prepared.
PS. I am thrilled to be a Save the Children Fellow working with a powerful team of women from all around the country who are helping families everywhere, be prepared. We will be sharing information on the “Get Ready Get Safe” program on a weekly basis throughout the month. Get Ready Get Safe is a pioneering Save the Children initiative designed to help US communities prepare to protect and care for the most vulnerable among us in times of crisis – our children. Save the Children helps generate child-focused emergency plans, provides emergency training and helps ensure emergency resources are in place before crisis strikes. We are calling out to all our Climate Mamas and Papas to help us expand our reach and help others be “prepared” too by sharing our posts widely. Please use the #getreadygetsafe hash tag when you share!