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  • Stocking a Safe Room: Crucial Supplies to Have on Hand

    |5 COMMENT(S)

    As you stock your safe room make sure to keep these crucial supplies on hand

    A “safe room” is a room in your house that has been built or modified to withstand an all-out assault by home invaders, whether burglars, terrorists, stalkers, or would-be kidnappers. Some are constructed to withstand high winds from hurricanes or tornadoes, or to protect against chemical or biological agents or radiation. Your safe room need not be a small, specialized hidey-hole in a secret space behind a bookcase, though some are designed that way. Your bedroom, home office, or any convenient room with a door can be made into a safe room by reinforcing your doors and windows, adding a few security enhancements, and stocking up on some necessary items.

    What are those necessary items? The things you choose to stock in your safe room depend upon the situations you are trying to protect yourself against and how long you expect to be there.

    Some basics include:

    • A phone—either a dedicated landline or a cell phone. Don’t plan to grab the cordless phone from your nightstand; it can easily be jammed or disabled. If you keep a dedicated cell phone in your safe room, remember to charge it regularly.
    • Drinking water (and cartons of juice drinks, especially if children will be there)
    • Food such as storable food bars, chocolate bars, MREs, small cans of freeze dried fruits and vegetables.
    • A portable toilet, toilet paper, and moistened wipes
    • Diapers, food, and clothing for baby if needed
    • A first-aid kit
    • Blankets and pillows for comfort
    • A change of clothing and underwear
    • A light source that isn’t dependent on your home’s electricity
    • N95 masks
    • At least several doses of all regularly needed prescriptions or OTC meds
    • A battery-operated or hand-cranked radio
    • Duct tape
    • A ladder (if second story)
    • Defensive weapons if you choose to have them

    Additional items to consider, depending on the size and purpose of your room, could include:

    • Reflective blankets for additional warmth
    • A battery-powered fan for cooling and circulation (you’ll want lots of extra batteries)
    • Books or an e-reader such as a Kindle or Nook, loaded with material for whatever ages you have in your family (and a way to charge electronics)
    • Electronic or board games
    • Bowl, water, and food for pets if they’re likely to be with you. Folded newspaper or a small litter box
    • A bolted-down safe for valuables—cash, passports (thieves love to get hold of these, they sell very well on the streets), jewelry, etc.
    • Potassium Iodide tablets in case of a radiation threat
    • An alternative way of contacting authorities quickly, such as a safety medallion like those often used by the elderly

    Some schoolrooms have safe rooms at one end, built to accommodate and protect the students and teacher in case of an intruder. They are often stocked with drinking water, food bars, and portable toilet facilities (often behind a privacy screen). Offices could also install reinforced safe rooms for workers—perhaps several, depending upon the size of the building and the number of employees.

    A few tips for creating a safe room from an existing room include the following:

    • Replace hollow-core doors with solid doors that have strong locks.
    • Install a one-sided dead bolt lock at a different level than the regular lock.
    • Hang the door so that the hinges are on the room side rather than the outside, where they could potentially be removed.
    • Either install bullet-proof glass in your windows or reinforce your existing glass with shatterproof laminate.
    • Hang heavy, lined curtains so that the potential intruder can’t see through them.
    • Install a security system—whatever you can afford—from inexpensive door and window “squealers” that screech if they are moved to a complete system with alarms and connection to the security company.
    • Make sure your safe room has a vent that can be opened or closed for fresh air.
    • Owners of some large homes with several levels and multiple entries invest in a home-monitoring unit with closed-circuit TV that can be patched into a set in the safe room so that the residents can observe what’s happening in and around the house.

    Suggestions to consider if you’re creating a safe room in new construction:

    • The safe room door should be solid, open inward, and be secured with a good lock.
    • You don’t need to have a secret room installed (though some do), but it’s best if your safe room blends in with the rest of the house without standing out and calling attention to itself.
    • You can pre-wire your safe room for an alarm panel, lights, and power. Have a direct-dial phone in addition to your cell.
    • Install either chicken wire or steel sheeting under the drywall for extra protection.

    If, in spite of all your best efforts, someone is trying to shoot into your safe room, position yourself against the window wall if he’s outside the window. It’s much safer there than across the room where bullets might spray you. If he’s in the house and shooting through the door, position yourself against the door wall at the farthest point from the door.

    Make certain that all the people in your home, schoolroom, or office know how to access the safe room, and hold training exercises to see how quickly they can assemble there. Teach children that the safe room is not to be used as a playhouse or a place to lock themselves away from parents or teachers!

    Do you have other ideas for items that would be important to include in a safe room?

     

    Sources:

    Emergency Essentials Food Storage Products 

    http://www.nononsenseselfdefense.com/saferoom.htm

    http://www.fema.gov/safe-rooms

    www.crimedoctor.com/panic_room_1.htm

    www.jbventuresabq.com

     

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: panic room, safe room, emergency preparedness, Survival, family, Emergency plan, preparedness

  • How to Teach Preparedness to Toddlers

    |1 COMMENT(S)

    How to teach preparedness to toddlers

    After a year of teaching 3-4 year olds as a Sunday school teacher, I’ve learned it’s hard to get toddlers to sit down and focus for even just 5 minutes! This makes the task of teaching emergency preparedness skills . . . Um, how should I say it . . . DIFFICULT.

    So should toddlers be taught about emergency preparedness? Can it even be done?

    Teaching toddlers emergency preparedness skills is not a lost cause. It can be done, but strategically through repetition and play.

    Repetition and Strategic Play

    According to the MetLife Foundation’s pamphlet, “The Power of Play,” toddlers need movement, action, and repetition to understand the world around them. Repetition “helps children know what to expect [and] gives them a sense of security and control over their world. It also helps them master new skills and boosts their self-confidence.”

    Since toddlers rely on routine to understand the world around them, teaching emergency skills through repetition may be the key to helping toddlers not only to prepare, but to feel more confident when an emergency hits.

    How do I Teach My Toddler Using Repetition and Strategic Play?

    Build Your Own Emergency Kit Activity

    Get a backpack for your 3 or4-year-old. Tell them “this is your emergency backpack” (have them repeat the phrase ‘emergency backpack’). Let them know the backpack is special and should be used only when an adult tells them to use it.

    1. Use FEMA’s disaster preparedness coloring book pgs.4-6 to discuss with your child what an “emergency” or natural disaster is.  Explain it in a way they can understand and not feel overwhelmed about. (See coloring page below)

    FEMA Disaster Preparedness Coloring page

    2. After going through the coloring page, tell your child that they need their special backpack when there’s an emergency.

     3. Have a pile of items (maybe 2-3 for now, you can put more in the next time you play) to put into the emergency kit. Pull one item out at a time. Ask the child to identify or guess what the item is and what they would use the item for. If they don’t know, help them.  Let them put it in the backpack.

    CAUTION: Many of the items will be similar to what they already use daily so it’s important to specify that these are special pull-ups or a special sippy cup that they only use when an adult tells them to get the emergency backpack. Repeat this point and ask/tell them the appropriate time to use each item.

     

    4. Talk with your child about things they’d want to have in an emergency to help them feel happy. You’ll want to include some of their favorite snacks and a blanket or toy in the emergency kit.

    CAUTION: You may not want to put toys or blankets your child is attached to into the bag at the moment but take note of these things so you can bring them or get duplicates to put in later.

     

    5. After you put all the items in the backpack, explain to your child that “we need to put this backpack in a place where we can grab it quickly for an emergency.” Help your child select a place to store the bag, close to the front door.  Make sure they understand to only get this special backpack out when they are told by an adult.

    6. Show the toddler you have a special backpack as well, stored in the same place, or if it isn’t, go move the backpack to the same place. Show them some of the items in your kit.

     

    This is an activity that you’ll want to do often. You can do it when it’s time to replace items or you can do it once every three months, reiterating the same ideas and principles about preparedness. Review the items that are already in the bag, put them back in, and add other things as needed.

     

    Check out the Insight Article, “Special Considerations for Emergency Kits” to help you decide what to include in your toddler’s kit.

    And while you’re at it, check out our other articles about prepping for kids and teens:

    Prepare Teens for Real-Life Disasters  Using Young Adult Fiction

    Survival Skills for Kids: Outdoor Survival Games

     

    Have you tried to teach your toddler about preparedness? What did you do? What suggestions do you have for other parents or caregivers?  Let us know in the comments.

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: emergency preparedness, family, preparedness, skills

  • Savannah Calls 9-1-1

    |1 COMMENT(S)

    Teaching children how and when to call 9-1-1 just might save your life

    You may remember our guest post from earlier this year about teaching young children how and when to call 9-1-1 (“Who They Gonna Call”). In the original article, found on babysittingjobs.com, the authors emphasize making sure your little people know their critical information (name, age, address) and what kind of circumstances really warrant an emergency call. It’s a helpful article and worth another look.

    A great example of these principles at work has gone viral. The video below shows the conversation between 5-year-old Savannah and a 9-1-1 dispatcher, after her father’s chest pains make it too difficult for him to speak.

    When instructing kids on 9-1-1 protocols, be sure they know to stay as calm as Savannah does. She speaks clearly, listens well, answers questions, and repeats the dispatcher’s questions to her dad verbatim—more than many of us might manage in a frightening situation! She also does a fantastic job of following directions, even when she first wants to do something else (the whole pajama issue is priceless!). It’s pretty standard for dispatchers to tell the caller to unlock a door for the EMTs and then stay close to the person in trouble, but if other circumstances necessitate more specific actions, kids need to listen calmly and do exactly what the dispatcher tells them to do.

    One of the best ways Savannah helps the professionals is by offering specific information readily. Not only can she give the dispatcher her name and age, but she describes the problem accurately and even gives him a heads-up about the family dog. A useful role-play might involve a parent acting out an emergency (heart attack, fainting, fall and injury) and having the child describe exactly what they see. Model a call, giving details of the victim’s situation (not breathing, not moving, can’t talk), then have kids take turns observing an accident and making pretend calls.

     

    If you need more ideas and resources for family 9-1-1 training, check out the links below.

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: survival skills, emergency preparedness, family

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