As Hurricane Barry closes in on Louisiana, UNICEF USA is closely monitoring the storm and its aftermath. We encourage everyone in Barry'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 three-day supply of non-perishable food, a first-aid kit, and a flashlight and radio with extra batteries. (See the Louisiana Governor's Office 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 storms' 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, there are people to help.
Photo at top: Families found shelter at St. Thomas Presbyterian Church in west Houston after Hurricane Harvey in 2017. Photo by Jay Janner/Austin American-Statesman via AP.