As Hurricane Dorian travels northward, UNICEF USA is closely monitoring the storm and its aftermath. We encourage everyone who may be in Dorian's path to take immediate, appropriate precautions to keep themselves safe.
Being prepared for severe weather can give children a sense of security. Keep a bag packed with essentials — medication, boots, gloves, raincoats, clothing, a favorite toy, books. Other useful emergency supplies include drinking water, a seven-day supply of non-perishable food, a first-aid kit, and a flashlight and radio with extra batteries. (See the Florida Division of Emergency Management site for a comprehensive list of items you should have readily available.) Have an emergency plan in place, and discuss it as a family.
Follow these guidelines to prepare your family for emergencies:
Talk to your children and reassure them that adults are working to keep them safe
Even children far from the storm's reach may be fearful. Talking about natural disasters and emergencies can be difficult for kids, whether they are personally affected or not. The American Psychiatric Association recommends that parents create an open and supportive environment where children can ask questions.
Assess what kids already know, use words and concepts they can understand and give honest answers and explanations. Be reassuring, but don't make unrealistic promises. Emergencies can't be wished away, but it's important to remind children that when something scary happens, people will be there to help.
Photo: In 2017, families displaced by Hurricane Harvey found shelter at St. Thomas Presbyterian Church in west Houston. Photo by Jay Janner/Austin American-Statesman via AP.