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Make Sure Your Family is Ready In Case of an Emergency - Safety Tips
Make Sure Your Family is Ready In Case of an Emergency - Safety Tips

Natural disasters can strike at any moment. Most recently in Southern California, wildfires have been threatening many families in our service area. CCRC wants to make sure you and your family are prepared in case of an emergency. Sesame Street has created Emergency Preparedness Guides for families and CCRC has worked on bilingual information guides and videos for child care providers.

Please take a moment to review this important information, discuss it with your family, and make plans accordingly. In times like these, it is beneficial to hope for the best but prepare for the worst.

Safety Tip 1:

Most parents’ worst fear is for a disaster to strike while their children are not with them. Or even worse, for your child to be in your sight one moment and separated from you the next. It can happen to anyone. That is why your child should know his/her basic information to include: 

  • First and Last Name
  • Home Address
  • Main Contact Phone Number

Sesame Street suggests finding easy ways to help children remember this vital information like songs, jingles or rhymes. No matter the strategy you choose, repetition is key. It can help to practice in the car and at bedtime. The will help ensure your child will be positively identified in case of an emergency or separation.

Emergency dadnsonSafety Tip 2:

Make sure your child can identify safety personnel at school and in the community. Our neighborhoods are filled with special helpers who are ready to help us when we need it. Help your child learn about some neighborhood helpers like firefighters, police officers, doctors, and teachers. The more familiar they are with these helpers now, the more comfortable they will feel with them in case of an emergency.

Also consider taking some time to talk about the use of 9-1-1. It is important for a child to know when they can utilize this service and what types of situations will warrant a call. Assessing this kind of situation may not be obvious to children, so they need concrete examples. If someone close to you has a particular health problem, you should explain it to your children. Describe the symptoms and tell them what to do in case this person is not feeling well. If your children are young, use simple words and avoid medical terms. For example, you could say: "If you see someone lying on the ground not moving, find an adult immediately. If no one is around, call 9-1-1."

Safety Tip 3:

Explain the different types of natural disasters you might experience in your region. Because we live in California, our greatest natural threats are wildfires and earthquakes. It is important for a child to be able to recognize which danger is present so they may act accordingly. Demonstrate the movements, sounds and smells that may be present during these different types of disasters.

Safety Tip 4:

Make a written family emergency plan and clearly communicate it to all family members to ensure everyone is on the same page in the event of an emergency. Sesame Street has a great template to identify each family member, their role in case of an emergency, and alternate living arrangements. One of the most important things to clarify is where to meet if you get separated!

Safety Tip 5:

Emergency checklistCreate family emergency kits – keep one in the house and one in the car and make sure they are easily accessible by the majority of the family. According to, a safety emergency kit should include:

  • Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA weather radio with tone alert
  • Battery-powered or hand crank flashlight
  • Extra batteries
  • Cash or traveler's checks
  • Cell phone with chargers and a backup battery
  • Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records saved electronically or in a waterproof, portable container
  • Water - one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation
  • Food - at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
  • Pet food and extra water for your pet
  • Manual can opener for food
  • Paper cups, plates, paper towels and plastic utensils
  • First aid kit
  • Infant formula, bottles, diapers, wipes, diaper rash cream
  • Prescription medications
  • Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items
  • Non-prescription medications such as pain relievers, anti-diarrhea medication, antacids or laxatives
  • Glasses and contact lense solution
  • Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person
  • Complete change of clothing appropriate for your climate and sturdy shoes
  • Whistle to signal for help
  • Dust mask to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
  • Matches in a waterproof container
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
  • Paper and pencil
  • Books, games, puzzles or other activities for childre

Emergency momngirlWe know that this list is long and some things may be more costly than others. It is advised that you purchase these items over time to mediate cost. Most things can be found at a discount store. After assembling your kit, remember to maintain it so it’s ready when needed:

• Keep canned food in a cool, dry place
• Store boxed food in tightly closed plastic or metal containers
• Replace expired items as needed
• Re-think your needs every year and update your kit as your family’s needs change

We hope these tips have been helpful. In the event of a true emergency please stay safe, monitor the radio and news stations, and take heed of advisories issued from local law enforcement. If you have any question or concerns please call the FEMA Disaster Assistance Helpline 1-800-621-3362.

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