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Emergency Preparedness Critical For Families

Hurricane Sandy served as a reminder of the importance of having your family prepared for incoming storms.

From most of us moms, the first moment that we discovered we were expecting a baby was also the first moment that our number one priority in life changed.

Suddenly, as if on cue, life becomes all about protecting our child. We are no longer our own number one priority and probably never will be again. Life becomes an effort to keep our children safe from harm under any circumstances.

As Sandy barreled up the east coast this week and people all over New England prepared for the worst it got me thinking about how much information is too much for children to process. Yes, we want our kids to be prepared with a plan in case of disaster but, at what point, does preparing lead to scaring them half to death?

Frankly, watching news coverage this week has been enough to make even the hardiest New Englander a bit nervous. Words describing the storm like “massive,” “monster,” “deadly,” and even “tempest” don’t exactly lend themselves to a warm, comfy feeling for anyone.

Even on Monday, as I sat writing this I found myself trying to beat the worst of the storm and get my article uploaded while I still could. Needless to say power outages are no friend to a mom working as a freelance writer from home.

So, what exactly is the best approach to prepare kids for an emergency? There probably isn’t any black and white definition of right from wrong. Every child if different and every child handles and processes information their own way. Some want to know everything that’s going on and, others, are better off staying away from the television coverage.

Personally I think it’s great that my seventh grade son’s science teacher has been encouraging the kids to take an interest in tracking the storm and learning more about it. My opinion has always been that understanding and learning makes things a whole lot less frightening and, in some ways, can even make a disaster a little bit fun.

Yes, schools around the state made the decision to close for the day and, even though many of us moms let out the same collective groan, it was the correct move to make. Kids don’t belong out on school buses in dangerous weather and, even though, storm force boredom has set in pretty fast we all appreciate the fact that our kids are home and safe.

What mom hasn’t seen the videos during last year’s tornado season as bus drivers rushed to get children to safety? No matter how many times you see those videos you still cringe at the thought of how frightening the experience must have been. Not something that any of us want to see again. 

Right now, during the “calm before the storm” I’ve get cell phones charging, batteries laid out and a flashlight or two on hand. The grill is ready to cook in case the electricity goes out and we’ve already had a pancake breakfast to keep us busy. The news is on and we are checking the internet for updates.

Let’s just hope that when you read this article, everyone is safe and sound and the electricity is back on.

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