We typically don’t know when emergencies are going to happen. This means we’re often in high-adrenaline, reactionary mode, when those emergencies come. One way we can make those times *less* stressful is by being prepared in advance, in the ways that ARE possible.
Here are 5 ways we can prepare our families for emergency situations:
- Basic obedience– Probably the most important thing that matters in an emergency is that your kids LISTEN CAREFULLY to you, and do what you say. Consider: would your 3- or 4-year-old be diligent to obey you? If you said this — “I’m going to get the baby. Go straight down the stairs and run out the back door. Then stand by the shed.” — do you feel confident your child would be waiting for you by the shed? This may be the most critical thing you could put in place, particularly with younger children. You can work on this all the time. See to it that they listen and obey promptly!
- A flexible plan for fires– This is something we review once or twice a year. I consider what would happen if the fire was in different places in the house, and we talk it through: how to get down from a 2nd story window, how to climb out of basement windows, which windows are easier to get in/out of, on each floor of the house. I remind them of the need to crawl if the hall is filled with smoke. I talk with my preteens-and-up about helping the little ones first, and about rolling on the ground if someone’s clothes are caught on fire. We also talk about where to meet up outside the house, in case we’re coming from different spots in the house. This also applies to your geography-specific concerns: tornadoes, earthquakes, hurricanes, flooding, etc. Make a meet-up plan for the possibilities that exist where you live.
- A nuclear plan– I didn’t know about this, until reading a recent article. I don’t think this is super-likely, but it’s good information to tuck away in your head just in case, because the advice is different than what you might naturally think to do. The basic two pieces of information I found helpful is this: (1) if a nuke goes off, DON’T TRY TO RUN away from it. Instead, head inside, and get down into a basement/protected place, if possible. The more layers of walls, wood, cement, and earth that you can put between you and the radioactive material, the better! And (2) don’t come out until at least 24 hours have passed. Truth is, I’m perfectly fine with going home to be with Jesus, and I’m not entirely certain I would want to live in a post-nuke reality anyway (ha!), but nonetheless, that bit about not coming out of your house for at least 24 hours is a good thing to tuck away.
- Talk through basic first aid– (Here’s what goes in our family’s first aid kit.) Once your kids are about 8/10, it can be helpful for them to know what to do FIRST in situations of injury– especially bleeding and burns. Bleeding: make sure there’s nothing in the wound, and then press firmly until the bleeding stops. Burns: hold the burn place under lukewarm (not cold, not hot) running water for a few minutes. Show them the various first aid supplies you have on hand. Most likely, you will be there in any emergency, but it’s good for them to have a basic familiarity beyond mere bandaids.
- Prepare them mentally/spiritually. Help them develop the instincts of calming down and thinking clearly, even in an emergency– this will serve them well all their lives. Questions like, “what’s the next thing I should do?” “Is there anyone who needs my help?” “Am I ABLE to truly give help or do I just need to stay safe and be quiet so others can help?” are good to consider in emergency situations. Even a 3/4 year old can internalize thoughts like, “God cares for me. He does what is best. I can trust Him.” Older kids can understand and take to heart messages like: “I can always pray to Him. He will help me make wise choices. I can trust Him to do what is best, even if it’s not what I want. He is powerful and can work even this out for good and for His glory!” Teaching your kids how to THINK about emergencies, and how to counsel themselves during emergencies can lead to restful hearts and peaceful minds– before, during, and after hard things.
IN THE COMMENTS, SHARE: How have you talked with your kids about emergencies?