BLENDED FAMILY SURIVIAL TIPS FOR HURRICANE and NATURAL DISASTERS
At The Marin Law Firm, P.A. we want everyone to enjoy the summer without having to worry about what to do when severe weather threatens. The best way to do that is to prepare now and know what you are going to do in the event of a hurricane. Planning ahead gives you options and better control over situations that could become chaotic at the last moment if you are not ready.
Keep in mind how you will contact your children before, during, and after a hurricane or other natural disaster. Being prepared for disasters is a shared parental responsibility.
The following are some steps to create a "Family Plan" for Blended Families for the upcoming hurricane season:
- Create a family emergency plan. Sit down with your children and discuss where you would go if you need to leave your home. Be sure to write down everyone's cell phone number - parents, children, families and friends - and put them into your child's phone.
- Prepare for the storm. If a hurricane is heading your way, then have your child help with the preparations, such as bringing in lawn furniture, checking flashlight batteries, getting out candles and packing a three-day supply of water, medications and nonperishable foods. Remind teens to fill up their cars with gas.
- Watch television together - in limited amounts. Television is a good way to get information in advance of a storm. But watching too much news coverage can increase a child's fears. It's better to watch the news together and then switch off the TV, particularly if a storm is still several days away. Remember that graphic images of storm damage can be upsetting to young children.
- Get ready to go. If your family needs to evacuate, make sure you have important documents of your self and children with you, i.e. children’s identification cards, driver’s license, health insurance cards, passports, final judgements and parenting plan. Also have your child help with packing. Be sure to include a few special items such a teddy bear, photos or portable gaming device. Your son or daughter can also help gather food, water and any medications for the family pet - a responsibility that can help the child feel more in control. Remember, children take cues from adult emotions, so be sure to remain calm.
- Choose a meeting location. Should your family become separated during a storm, you should have a pre-determined rendezvous point at which everyone can rejoin the family. Be sure to coordinate and share this meeting place with the other parent.
- Complete a family communication plan. Include contact information for family members, work and school, meeting locations and emergency services.
- Choose an"out of town" contact who family members can call to let them know where they are, especially if the family is separated. Everyone should know this contact's phone numbers. After a disaster, it is often easier to make a long-distance call than a local call from the disaster area.
- Post emergency telephone numbers by your phones and make sure your children know how and when to call 911.
- Work together after the storm. Once the storm has passed, your children can help pick up tree limbs or other debris that blew into your yard. If there is serious damage to the home, living arrangements may need to be altered, such as sharing a bedroom. Once things settle down, set aside time to talk with your children about how they feel. Emotional trauma can take months to heal at any age.
Contact our Orlando firm online or call 407-680-1867.