Preparing Responsible Dads for Disasters
A disaster or emergency can strike at anytime and the impacts to a family can be devastating. That is why preparing for the unexpected is so important – for fathers, it the responsible thing to do.
As a single father, Marc Fisher, a Regional Emergency Management Specialist for ACF Region V in Chicago, knows first-hand the importance of preparing.
“What we all know is disasters don’t make appointments, my kids are counting on me so that’s why as a dad I’m prepared,” Fisher explains.
Fisher took this message to single fathers in Ohio as part of ACF’s National Preparedness Month initiative. He teamed up with the Ohio Commission on Fatherhood — an ACF Responsible Fatherhood Grantee — to host a preparedness training geared toward fathers. Participants included not only single fathers, but also married dads and incarcerated fathers awaiting release.
Fisher recalls, “It was great to work with dads from very different walks of life. The dads ranged from rural Ohio to urban Columbus, but everyone had one thing in common and it was an evident part of the presentation… they all love their kids and were all equally concerned about being prepared for future disaster.”
Fisher talked about the bond between father and child, and the importance of dads being prepared in the event of an emergency or disaster: “I have a couple of go kits, one I keep at home and one I keep in my car. My kids are still pretty young but, whenever it rains hard and the kids get scared of lighting and thunder. I turn off the lights and give them flashlights. We then unpack the go kit I keep in the closet and repack it. Since they are young, it teaches them that being prepared and having a plan can help things not be so scary.”
ACF provided each participants with a preparedness starter bag with an flip book for family emergency planning, as well as starter items for an emergency preparedness kit, such as a magnetic flashlight and information from FEMA and Ready.gov. “Men naturally want to protect their loved ones, having a chance to be the protector and play a positive role in the lives of their children was something that went over really well,” he added.
For more information on how ACF works to prepare families and children for disasters, visit the Office of Human Services Emergency Preparedness and Response website at www.acf.hhs.gov/ohsepr.