Tag Archives: Prepare

  • How TV Shows Are Preparing Children for Disasters

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    Tsunami 02Seventeen-year-old Raudhatul Mawaddah had read in a comic book that a tsunami usually follows an earthquake. So after a magnitude 9.0 earthquake struck off the coast of Indonesia on December 26, 2004, despite her father’s objections, she grabbed her 1-month-old stepbrother and 4-year-old stepsister and ran for the mountain near her home, according to an October 2007 UNICEF report. Her home was four kilometers (about 1.3 miles) from the ocean, but it was still hit by flood waters from a tsunami. When the water receded, a stranger’s body was left on her family’s kitchen floor. That tsunami killed 230,000 people, including some 5,000 miles away from the earthquake’s epicenter. But Raudhatul’s family survived.

    It can be tough to prepare children for natural disasters. You might be afraid of scaring them or giving them nightmares. You might not know what’s age-appropriate. Yet studies agree that children who learn about disasters in a safe environment are less afraid during a disaster.

    Here’s the nice bit: You don’t have to figure out how to teach children about emergency preparedness by yourself. PBS Kids, Disney Junior, Sesame Workshop: all have released TV shows and related tools to help with disaster preparedness and coping. Here are some I found.


    Sesame Street, 2001

    The granddaddy of them all. Seriously. This was the earliest emergency preparedness episode I could find. It came out in 2001 and was rebroadcast after Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

    In this episode, Big Bird’s nest is destroyed in a hurricane. His friends and neighbors come together to help him rebuild, find places to eat, sleep, and play, and help him cope with his emotions.


    Sesame Street, 2014

    In October 2014, Sesame Street also released its “Let’s Get Ready” series. It offers tools to help kids learn important information like their full name, phone number and names of other family members, like an app, printables and short videos. It also gives information about how to create an emergency plan and how to cope after an emergency.


    The Pillowcase Project, Disney Junior, and American Red Cross,2012

    Monster Guard -Red Cross Monster Guard

    After Hurricane Katrina, the New Orleans chapter of the American Red Cross developed the Pillowcase Project, a preparedness education program for children in grades 3-5. It encourages kids to prepare by packing a pillowcase of emergency supplies that they can quickly grab for an emergency evacuation. Disney produced a public service announcement for older kids and created a booklet starring Mickey Mouse and other characters from the TV show Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.

    The partnership also produced an app, Monster Guard, in which kids play games to learn about preparing for various types of emergencies.


    Doc McStuffins, 2015

    Through Doc McStuffins, the title character of a Disney Junior show who repairs toys and teaches about life skills, Disney expanded the pillowcase project to preschoolers for this year’s Disaster Preparedness Month. In a one-minute public service announcement, Doc prepares an emergency kit with flashlight, clothes, blanket and snacks, and makes an emergency plan with family contact information.


    Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, 2015

    “Take a grownup’s hand, follow the plan and you’ll be safe,” my kids now sing. Over and over and over again. Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood is a preschool TV show based on characters from Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood. In a story that lasts a full episode, when a big storm hits the neighborhood, everyone stays safe. They follow a storm safety plan that includes sheltering in a safe place, making an emergency kit, and helping others clean up afterward. The episode also comes with tips and games.


    Arthur, 2015

    This month, PBS Kids also released an episode of Arthur, a cartoon for school-age children, in which the characters coped with the aftermath of a hurricane.

    Again, PBS Kids provided tips and games to help kids be more resilient after a disaster.


    Ready.gov, 2015

    Disaster MasterFEMA’s web site Ready.gov has a game, “Disaster Master,” emergency plan and kit information for kids and information about how to get wireless alerts.

    - Melissa




    Do you know of any other good TV shows or games to help teach kids to prepare? Let us know in the comments section!



    Posted In: Disaster Scenarios Tagged With: Sesame Street, Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood, Arthur, PBS Kids, kids, Prepare, disaster

  • Bad Moon Rising? How Much Credence Does Sunday's Blood Moon Deserve?

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    Moon over Water - Bad Moon Rising

    Early in the evening, just about suppertime, millions will have their eyes trained on Sunday’s total lunar eclipse. If your eyes are two of them, listen carefully as you gaze. You may hear the strains of an old ‘60’s tune floating through the air.

    “I see a bad moon rising. I see trouble on the way. I see earthquakes and lightenin’. I see bad times today.”

    Sunday’s moon might be called a Blood Moon for the red cast it will take on when it reaches full eclipse. For many, however, the name refers to ancient biblical prophecy declaring that, before the end of days, “the moon will be turned to blood.” For them, this is certainly a “Bad Moon Rising.”

    “I hear hurricanes a-blowin’. I know the end is comin’ soon. I feel rivers over flowin’. I hear the voice of rage and ruin.”

    Super Cell - Bad Moon RisingWhen Credence Clearwater Revival released this hit in early 1969, songwriter John Fogerty waxed prophetic when, less than four months later, Hurricane Camille hit the Gulf Coast of Mississippi—still the second strongest hurricane in US History.



    Religious ThingMark Biltz, founder of El Shaddai Ministries, has been warning the world about this Bad Moon since before the first of this tetrad arose in April of last year (a tetrad being a series of four consecutive full lunar eclipses). In a Washington Post interview he told writer Abby Phillip, “I’m just saying there’s a good chance there could be a war with Israel. I’m also saying there’s a good chance there could be economic calamity. And I’m basing that on the Bible and patterns.”

    Likewise, Minister John Hagee has been alerting the world that God himself has a message in the sky for us Sunday night. "There's a sense in the world that things are changing and God is trying to communicate with us in a supernatural way," Hagee told CBN News. "I believe that in these next two years, we're going to see something dramatic happen in the Middle East involving Israel that will change the course of history in the Middle East and impact the whole world," he predicted.

    “Hope you got your things together. Hope you are quite prepared to die. Looks like we’re in for nasty weather. One eye is taken for an eye.”

    Blood Moons, Bad moons, prophecies, calamities…you’d have to ask John Fogerty himself what he had in mind as he wrote his #2 Billboard hit. Rolling Stone Magazine did just that, and Fogerty quite frankly replied, “It was about the apocalypse that was going to be visited upon us.”

    I was a sixth grader at Cordova Meadows Elementary School when I first heard the strains of Bad Moon Rising. Since then, the world has seen plenty of earthquakes, hurricanes, rage, and ruin. Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq. Energy crisis, tsunamis, Ebola. Plunging markets, bursting bubbles, falling trade towers. Looking back, these calamities, along with the illnesses, accidents, layoffs, divorces and other set-backs that have hit me and mine over the last 45 years, never came with warnings, or moons, or top-forty hits. They just happened. I expect it’s the same for you and yours.

    “Don’t go around tonight. Well, it’s bound to take your life. There’s a bad moon on the rise.”

    Water Barrels - Bad Moon RisingSunday night, our cupboards will be stocked with several month’s worth of necessities. The propane tanks are full, cooking gear is at the ready, alongside a couple of tents and sleeping bags. Flashlights are charged, on the shelf with oil candles and the first-aid kit. Plus, over 200 gallons of clean water stand in barrels and jugs in the garage. When this bad moon rises, we’ll be ready…just like we have been for years. For us, family preparation has never been anything extreme, or fearful, or reactionary. We’re not cowering to mystic moons or ministers of doom. It’s just a part of our preparedness lifestyle—put a little bit aside each month for whatever God, or anyone else, has in mind.

    Bloo Moon Over Mountains - Bad Moon Rising

    So, my family will be goin’ around Sunday night. With cameras and binoculars in hand, we’ll throw a blanket out on the roof and watch this incredible super-moon rise and fade from white to red, marveling at it’s splendor. And while we’ll enjoy the evening, my wife and I are ever mindful that along with these peaceful times come also life’s challenges. But we’ll rest soundly until Monday morning, knowing we are prepared.


    Blood Moons Blog Banner - Bad MOon Rising

    Posted In: Planning Tagged With: shemitah, bad moon rising, tetrad, blood moon, Prepare

  • How to Prepare Your Children for Emergencies

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    Now that it’s August, families are beginning to prepare to send children back to school – 57 million children. An estimated 12 million children attend child care and pre-kindergarten programs.

    What happens if disaster strikes while the children are in school or child care?

    According to an annual report by Save the Children, 32 states require schools and child care facilities to meet four disaster preparedness standards.

    69 Million Kids Save the Children

    “In total, 18 states and D.C. can still do much more to protect children,” said Rich Bland, who heads advocacy and public policy for Save the Children’s U.S. programs.

    Three of the disaster preparedness standards require child care facilities to develop written emergency plans. Those plans cover how and when to evacuate to a safer location, how to communicate with parents and reunite parents and children, and how to help children with special needs. The fourth standard requires all K-12 schools to develop a written, multi-hazard disaster plan.

    The state I live in requires each school to hold monthly drills for one of twelve emergency scenarios, including fire, earthquake, chemical spill, flood and other severe weather and lock down for violence.

    In one school district, for example, teachers get told about a bomb threat with the intercom notice, “Teachers, remember the Saturday faculty meeting.”

    This year, the elementary school two of my daughters attend had to see how well its disaster communication plan worked. A man fired a gun and barricaded himself into his parents’ home less than a mile from the school. Though the school didn’t lock down, the principal communicated safety information throughout the morning. Of course, since I’d asked to receive notifications by e-mail, I didn’t learn about the event until after it ended.

    Schools in my state must give parents and staff information about their emergency plans. Be aware, they don’t have to tell much. One school’s emergency information is two sentences long:

    “In the case of an emergency you are asked to stay calm and follow the instructions of your teacher. In case of an actual emergency when student pick up is required, students will only be released to parents or legal guardians.”

    It gives no information about where to find children in case the school gets evacuated – which, to be fair, may not be immediately known – or the procedure parents must follow to pick up their children.

    Parents, you can prepare your children for emergencies for when you are away from them.

    First, as parents we can make sure our school or child care provider has emergency plans in place and we know what they are. This checklist from Save the Children lists questions we can ask administrators. We also need to ask if local emergency officials have copies of the plans.

    Second, we can make sure both our children and their schools have emergency contact information.

    Schools and child care providers need at least two ways to reach us and we need to know how to reach them. We need to give them an emergency contact person who lives outside our area.

    They need to be aware of any of our children’s special needs. We can ask permission to send emergency snacks and water.

    Info Card Save the Children

    Finally, Save the Children has a free, printable emergency contact card. It includes a child’s name, age, home address and phone number, medical information and emergency contacts. The card fits in a child’s backpack or wallet. We should teach our children how to contact us and where to meet if we get separated.

    While your children’s schools should have emergency plans in place, you must still do what we can to help prepare your children for disasters should they happen while we are separated from them.


    What emergency preparations do you have in place to help you prepare your children from disaster?

    Posted In: Planning Tagged With: plan, emergencies, school, Prepare, children

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