Back to school. You shop for new clothes and school supplies for your kids. You make arrangements for them to safely travel to and from school each day. You worry that they’ll fit in, make and keep good friends, and stay safe while you’re away from them each day.
Safety at school is important. And most schools take it very seriously. Most schools require you to fill out an emergency contact card to help them account for your child(ren) and react appropriately after a natural disaster or emergency. They prepare and conduct emergency drills with your kids. Most importantly, they stock emergency preparedness supplies and/or require your child to bring a school emergency kit.
But, what they can’t do for you is prepare a family plan. While many schools have strict rules to managing a crisis, history has told us that in major disasters, mayhem takes over. Communication can be spotty or non-existent. Cell towers are toppled or overloaded. Even trusty text messaging can fail.
A good family plan starts with at least two meeting places:
- Pick a simple obvious location at or near the school.
- Then, determine a backup location in case the school is inaccessible, too dangerous, or in complete disarray. Select a nearby park or a shopping center parking lot – an area free from buildings and distractions.
Everyone’s circumstances vary. How many kids you have, where you live and many other factors will affect your plan. What matters most is that you think it through and communicate it ahead of time to your family. “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” (Benjamin Franklin). Happy planning.