As the threat of Hurricane Dorian looms over us Floridians, there is no question our children’s peace of mind and safety are our top priority. Kids’ fears can easily intensify during these times especially when they don’t fully understand what is happening, yet, feel the nervous energy from adults. As parents, let’s take a conscious step back and realize we create the vibe and sense of security or the contrary for our kids. Furthermore, we can ease their fears by using a little common sense and consciousness for our own actions and words.
Here are a few tips to help ease the possible anxiety caused by the uncertainty of the storm:
→Before speaking with our kids take a deep breath. When speaking with them be serene and confidently optimistic. The goal is to ease their fears and make them feel SAFE..
→It’s important to explain what a hurricane is but keep it simple. Here’s an idea: it’s a storm which brings a lot of rain and wind. Tell them the wind at times gets very loud and they’ll most likely hear it. Expect questions!
→Our kids will have questions, answer them truthfully and simply but avoid over explaining. When we over explain we risk confusing them hence causing fear and anxiety. Keep the lines of communication open and compassionate before, during and after the storm.
→Allow the kids to help in the preparations. Things kids can help with are organizing snacks, batteries, flashlights, decorating flashlights for each family member, bringing smaller items in from outdoors, planning games, etc. The point here is to give them an active role. Having a role in the preparations allows them to gain the feeling of control over the situation. Most importantly they see you are preparing to keep them SAFE.
→Did I mention, keeping explanations simple? The younger they are the less details they need or can fully comprehend. The most important message we need to relay is they will be SAFE.
→As we all know and as the storm nears, it will be all over the TV & radio, etc., monitor how much they hear and limit the images they see.
→It’s important to keep a tight rein on what our kids hear from others, the alarmists, which may evoke fear. Be prepared to change the subject and be straightforward about certain things not to be brought up in the presence of our kids.
Being mindful for how influential our actions and words are in our children’s development, will not only help to ease any fears today but begin to build on their ability to deal with life’s unplanned situations in their future. Let’s remember we are their first and most valuable role models, let’s set a worthy example. Stay Safe!
Tropical Storm Watch
Tropical Storm conditions are possible within 36 hours. Stay informed.
Tropical Storm Warning
Tropical Storm conditions are expected within 24 hours or less. A warning that sustained winds within the range of 39-73 mph associated with a tropical cyclone is expected. Complete your storm preparations.
Hurricane conditions are a threat within 48 hours. Review your hurricane plans and be prepared to act if a warning is issued. Stay informed.
Hurricane conditions are expected within 36 hours. A warning that sustained winds of 74 mph or higher associated with a hurricane are expected. Complete your storm preparations and/or leave the area if directed to do so by authorities.
Winds of 74-95 mph. Damage primarily to unanchored mobile homes, power lines and trees. Example: Hurricane Irma, 2017.
Winds 96-110 mph. Some damage to roofs, doors and windows. Considerable damage to trees, mobile homes, small boats in unprotected anchorages and piers. Example: Hurricane Wilma, 2005.
Winds 111-130 mph. Some structural damage to homes and buildings. Heavy damage/destruction of trees and mobile homes. Example: Hurricane Frances, 2004.
Winds 131-155 mph. More extensive roof damage on small homes. Shrubs, trees and all signs are blown down. Complete destruction of mobile homes. Extensive damage to doors and windows. Low-lying escape routes may be cut by rising water 3-5 hours before the arrival of the center of the hurricane. Example: Hurricane Charley, 2004.
Winds greater than 155 mph. Complete roof failure on many residences and industrial buildings. All shrubs, trees and signs blown down. Complete destruction of mobile homes. Severe and extensive window and door damage. Low-lying escape routes are cut by rising water three to five hours before the arrival of the center of the hurricane. Major damage to lower floors of all structures located less than 15 feet above sea level and within 500 yards of the shoreline. Example: Hurricane Andrew, 1992.
An abnormal rise in sea level accompanying a hurricane or other intense storm that’s caused by storm’s barometric pressure, forward speed and wind intensity. Surge can be anywhere from a few feet to 18 feet along South Florida coasts. Storm Surge watches and warnings are issued to the public by the National Hurricane Center.
Storm Surge Watch
The possibility of life-threatening inundation of rising water moving inland from the shoreline within the specified areas within 48 hours.
Storm Surge Warning
The possibility of life-threatening inundation of rising water moving inland from the shoreline within the specified areas within 36 hours.
↓Recommended Hurricane Supplies↓
⋅Water – at least 5 day supply, one gallon per person per day
⋅Food – at least 5 day supply of non-perishable, easy to prepare items
⋅Flashlight(s) and extra batteries
⋅Battery-powered/hand crank radio
⋅First aid kit
⋅Medications – at least 7 day supply
⋅Medical items – hearing aids with extra batteries, glasses, contact lenses, syringes, etc.
⋅Toys, Games (Non-electronic)
⋅Sanitation and personal hygiene items
⋅Baby supplies – bottles, formula, baby food, medication, diapers, etc.
⋅Pet supplies – food, medication, leash, collar, carrier, etc.
⋅Extra batteries and phone/tablet/laptop chargers.
⋅Extra blankets, rain gear, hat, sturdy shoes, etc.
⋅Insect repellent and sunscreen
⋅Extra set of car and house keys
⋅Copies of personal documents (medication list, pertinent medical information, proof of address, deed/lease to home, passport(s), birth certificate(s), insurance policies, etc.)
⋅Family and emergency contact information
⋅Camera for photos after the storm (possible damage)
⋅Tools/supplies for securing home (Plastic, rags, large garbage bags, zip lock bags, waterproof portable container w/lid, etc.)
⋅Cleaning supplies – stock up on personal care and cleaning items
Emergency – 911
Broward County Emergency Management – 954-831-3900
Miami-Dade County Emergency Management – 305-468-5400
Palm Beach County Emergency Management – 561-712-6400