The fresh start of a new year is a good opportunity to review your family's emergency plans. What should your kids be expected to do in a disaster? How do you prepare them without scaring them?
The American Academy of Pediatrics has an excellent family-friendly guide to preparing for disasters. You can find the full menu of resources, including lists of emergency supplies to keep on hand, at aap.org/healthtopics/disasters.cfm. Meanwhile, here are some pointers on how to prepare your child for emergencies:
* "Tell children that a disaster is something that could hurt people or cause damage," the organization's site says. "Explain that nature sometimes provides 'too much of a good thing'- fire, rain, and wind."
* Teach kids how to call for help and when to use each emergency number.
* Designate a family contact who lives outside your town and instruct your child to call that person if you're separated.
* Teach children to keep personal identification with them at all times.
* Every six months, go over your family disaster plan (including two escape routes from each room) and quiz children on it.