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Pens, Paper, Pencils and Preparedness!

A photo of a mother sending off her two girls to school.By Amy Grissom, Regional Emergency Management Specialist, Region VI

It’s the end of summer and students are heading back to school. Kids are gearing up for the unknown and parents are busy shopping for last minute supplies, arranging transportation, and filling in child care gaps.  Within each family’s carefully orchestrated return to school, time is short and to do lists are long.

No one likes to think about an emergency happening when kids are in school or child care. But did you know that Save the Children estimates that 68 million beloved children are separated from their parents any given workday? The tornado that struck two Moore, Okla., schools reminds us that emergencies can happen anytime. 

Would everyone have the same plan to communicate or find each other in an emergency?  Does your family?

Each new school year is a great time to flex your family’s preparedness muscles.  Below are some easy ways to be prepared when your kids are in school or child care:

  • Know your child’s school or child care emergency plan.  A sample child care emergency plan can help if there isn’t one. 
  • Know where kids will be taken if they are evacuated.
  • Make sure your emergency contact information is current.
  • Pre-authorize a friend or relative to pick up your children if you are not able to.
  • Make a family emergency plan with your kids.  Include an out of state contact since local phones may not work during a major disaster.  Texting may still work when phones are down.
  • Get your family involved by creating an emergency supply kit together and check out FEMA’s great preparedness resources for kids.
  • You can also find checklists for families, child care providers, and schools at Save the Children's Get Ready. Get Safe. website.
  • College students may have become adults, but they are always our kids.  Many college campuses offer email and/or text alerts that students and parents can sign up for when severe weather or other emergencies arise. 

Going back to school is a great time to be prepared for anything – including an unexpected emergency.  Here’s to a great new school year for kids and parents!


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