Naturally, children love dashing outdoors and playing sports, games, or just tagging along with their friends on a bright, sunny day. If this is the case for a day which the sky is blue during the morning hours, but menacing-looking clouds come rolling later in the afternoon, those youngsters have no choice but to head back indoors before those first big raindrops hit the ground. If a strengthening hurricane is about to take toll on the children’s homes, it’s time for those kids to evacuate. While taking cover and staying safe before a massive storm arrives is a good idea, it is also wise for the children to know exactly what to do long before big storms strike.
Learn Weather Terms
Have your children understand certain weather warnings. According to NOAA’s National Weather Service, the term “watch” means conditions are favorable for any severe weather events (hail, damaging winds, tornadoes, heavy rain, etc.). This doesn’t mean they will certainly happen, but instruct your children to know how to watch the sky for any deterioration in the weather pattern if they are playing outside. Listening to a weather radio station or keeping tuned to your local news channels for additional weather updates should also help you protect your children.
Now explain to your children about this weather word, “warning.” They need to realize that a “warning” literally warns residents that a severe weather event is currently or almost about to occur in the neighborhood. If the National Weather Service happens to issue a severe thunderstorm warning for your area, do expect damaging winds, large hail, and/or torrential rains to occur. Perhaps in a few seconds, you and your children will hear nearby sirens blaring, warning everybody in the community to take cover.
Tornado and Severe Thunderstorm Safety
Make sure your children know that the safest place during a tornado or a severe thunderstorm with strong winds is in a basement or storm cellar. If there is no basement in your home, perhaps a friendly neighbor is fortunate enough to own a basement for you and your family to use. Otherwise, you and your children should find a room that is on the lowest level of your home. Your children need to know that crouching on their knees in a secluded hallway is a good way to protect themselves. Or, have them crawl under a sturdy table until the storm passes. And be sure that you and your family stay away from windows throughout the storm event.
As for outdoor safety, in case there is a tornado nearby or strong winds that are blowing, teach your children to cover their heads with their hands while kneeling near a ditch to protect themselves from flying debris. Don’t forget to tell them that huddling underneath bridges and overpasses is a wrong choice. Otherwise, those high wind gusts will only enter under the bridges and sweep your children away.
To ensure safety during a hurricane event, have you and your children create a disaster plan. The plan should include evacuation details that can involve traveling hundreds of miles away from your home or going to a sturdy shelter. All windows of your home should be boarded up. The children can be taught to make a disaster kit to use both at home and in your car by gathering bottles of clean water, food, new batteries, a flashlight, a weather radio, anything your family will need.
Safety at School
Sometimes inclement weather can happen while your children is at school. If you can follow what your children’s school guidelines for weather safety are, make sure they understand what to do as well. With the school authorities’ permission, the children should head downstairs to the first floor of the school building and cover their necks with the palms of their hands while standing along walls or sitting against walls. They should follow the teachers’ instructions given throughout this period, too.
By demonstrating these precautions, you and your family will be well-prepared in advance of severe weather. Experiencing stormy weather can require quick-thinking action for safety, and by practicing the plans, you and your children will understand what to do during the bad weather. In addition, you are also being a good role-model for your children, because being a responsible adult requires providing safety for those youngsters.
Hurricane Safety – www.weatherwizkids.com/hurricane.htm