As California responds to wildfires across the state, the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) would like to remind parents, guardians, and families about the importance of educating children on disaster preparedness.
Now is a great time to develop fun activities for children in grades K-5 to participate in, helping families establish an emergency plan before the start of the new school year. For more information on preparing your family and community, visit Cal OES’s preparedness page in English and Spanish.
Practice, Practice, Practice!
Regardless of the disaster, it is crucial that families communicate with their children and have a disaster plan set in place. Plans should be easy for children to follow and memorize. Here are three questions to ask yourself:
- Who will we contact? Establish a family communication plan. Pick the same person for each family member to contact. Pick someone out of town—they may be easier to reach in a disaster.
- Where will we meet? Decide on safe, familiar, accessible places where your family can go for protection or to reunite. If you have pets or service animals, think about animal-friendly locations.
- Practice, Practice, Practice! Hold regular household meetings to review and practice your plan in case you’re ever on the go. Not sure what items to include in your emergency prep kit? Cal OES has videos available for families to watch in English and Spanish.
Need more information? Listos California has provided a resource for every situation available in 15+ languages.
Cal OES has compiled the below kid-friendly preparedness resources from partners.
KID-FRIENDLY PREPAREDNESS RESOURCES
Prepare with Pedro (Grade: K-2)
Prepare with Pedro is a free youth preparedness program created by the American Red Cross to teach young children and their families how to stay safe during disasters and emergencies. It features an activity book filled with craft projects, crossword puzzles, and coloring pages with useful information easy for kids to memorize.
Ready Wrigley (Grade: K-3)
Ready Wrigley was created by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to provide parents, guardians, teachers, and young children with tips, activities, and a story to help the whole family prepare for emergencies.
Ready 2 Help (Grade: 3+)
The Ready 2 Help card game teaches children examples of emergencies which lets them act out scenarios. In addition, Ready 2 Help teaches 5 simple steps to stay safe and make a difference until help arrives. The card game is available in 6 different languages and can be ordered for free by filling out this form.
Prep Rally (Grade K-2 and 3-5)
Learn about Saving the Children’s emergency preparedness program – Prep Rally – for children in preschool, kindergarten and elementary school, using engaging games and activities to bring concepts to life. Featured playtime activities include:
- Disaster Supply Relay Race: Gather piles of disaster supplies and have children race down to pick something they might need in a disaster. Add in miscellaneous items (i.e., princess crown, wall clock) to have kids make a choice.
- Prep Step Dance: This 90-second song from Save the Children Prep Rally is a new window that teaches children to know their ICE (in case of emergency) contacts, make a family plan and make a go-bag.
- Read Safety-Themed Books: Read an emergency or safety-themed book and ask questions about the characters’ safe choices along the way. This allows children to think through scenarios without making it about their own personal experiences. Not sure what books? Find a list here.
- Make a Weather Forecast Video: Talk about the weather risks in your region and learn basic weather terminology (such as “watch” versus “warning”). Have children put the pieces together to make a weather forecast video or presentation.
Disasters don’t plan ahead, but YOU CAN. Help your children stay informed with disasters and hazards that may affect your area and teach them what to do before, during, and after each type of emergency.
For earthquake early warning alerts, the MyShake app is available for families to download in case of an emergency.