Talking to kids about storm safety and getting prepared for storm season
Talking to kids about storm safety
It’s that time of year again when the sky starts to rumble and hot and humid days bring the promise of afternoon relief in the way of storms. Have you thought about what you might to do to prepare your Brisbane Kids for storm season? Remembering that depending on the age of your child, that this may be their first time experiencing a storm or comprehending what it is all about. This article is some food for thought for you to think about how you might prepare and chat to your Brisbane Kids about storms and the possible consequences that such a weather event might bring.
disclaimer:This is not professional storm advice- we aren’t emergency service professionals and have provided links at the bottom of this page to places and people who are.
Be prepared and have a chat before storm season
There’s a lot you can do to get your kids ready to cope with a big storm, and the earlier you approach the subject the better. There will always be a certain amount of unpredictability with the weather, but one thing you can keep under control is the state of emotions in your house, and with the right planning you can feel confident that you’ll know how to react appropriately to just about any occurrence, which in turn will ensure your Brisbane Kids will feel safe and secure no matter what happens.
It goes without saying it is important to stay calm during a thunderstorm. You’re constantly setting an example for your children in everything you do, so in a storm situation try to compose yourself in such a way that your children won’t have reason to panic. Even if you’re seriously worried about what might happen to your property, try to stay focused on the task at hand, which is primarily looking after your people—and this includes the emotional wellbeing of your Brisbane Kids.
What to say
This really depends on the age of the child but rain in general is a wonderful chance to talk about how the whole water cycle works. There are lots of experiments you can do to explain storms- we found one here on weatherwizkids using a plastic container and food colouring. Its also okay to be excited about a storm and to explain to your child that it is a wonderful show of mother nature and provides an excellent opportunity to clean the rivers and roads around us and give the trees and gardens a good drink. On the flip side its also good to show a healthy caution which can be demonstrated during the preparation and while a storm is on.
Calculate how far a storm is away from you
You can use the lightning and thunder to see how far a storm is away from your home. This is a great way to involve kids and take their (and your mind) off the possible fear. For every five seconds between a flash and a bang (lightening is the flash and thunder is the bang) the storm is one mile away. So all you have to do is divide the number of seconds you count by five to get the number of miles away the storm is. (One mile is about 1.5kms)
Explain the preparation
If you’re racing around the yard, and your Brisbane Kids are wondering why you’re packing things away or tying down equipment, explain to them the reason for your actions, and what might happen if you don’t take the necessary precautions. They certainly won’t want to see their trampoline in the neighbour’s tree—it may not come to that, but it’s good for them to have an understanding of the possible consequences of being ill-prepared for a storm.
What may be clear safe practice to us as adults may not be so obvious for children. Kids have a built-in curiosity to want to touch and feel things, to work out what they’re all about. We know that water and electricity don’t mix, but to a child sparks and flashes of light may look beautiful and attractive, so much so that they might be inclined to want to get a closer look. While it’s a grim subject matter to approach, they need to know to stay well away from the unknown in these circumstances, as it could end up being very bad news for everyone involved.
Get an emergency kit ready
Have you put together your emergency kit, or do you have one floating around from last year? It’s ideal to check over it and ensure your pack is complete and up-to-date, including everything you’ll want to have with you if disaster strikes. But importantly, make sure your Brisbane Kids know where to find it in case the moment arises when it’s needed. Not entirely sure what to include? Have a look at Council’s excellent emergency kit check list to know you’re covered for any circumstances which may arise.
Do your Brisbane Kids know how to work your mobile phone in order to make a call? If you’re injured during a storm, your only chance for help might be your kids’ ability to call emergency services for help. Triple-O is a nice and super-easy number for anyone to remember, so practice having your little ones unlock your phone and tap in the numbers. Its good know that 000 will work from any mobile or fixed service number but that there are also 2 secondary emergency call service numbers 112 and 106.
It also wouldn’t hurt for you to role-play the situation with them (just like you would a family emergency plan), ensuring they know how to correctly communicate important information, such as name, address and what’s happened to Mum or Dad. Also make sure they know not to use a landline during an electrical storm.
Have the candles and torches ready
We like the idea of the emergency kit having a torch for each member of the family, even a small handheld torch which you can buy for a couple of $$ will ensure everyone is calmer during a blackout. When the power goes out remind your kids that everything’s okay as long as you’re all together, and that naturally going outside is potentially dangerous. Use it as a time to have some fun and play board games by candlelight—this might even be the beginning of a new family tradition! Even just talking will take their little minds off what’s going on outside.
If your power is out for an extended period, why not get together for a visit with a friend or relative? Your Brisbane Kids would get a kick out of hearing about what storms were like when their grandparents were young—they’re living proof that storms, while a bit scary and cause for some concern, come and go a lot during your lifetime, and they too will be around long enough to tell the tale.
Real emergency situations
What if something goes really wrong inside your house, and for whatever reason you need to get out? As with situations involving fire, you should have an evacuation plan worked out that everyone in the house is fully aware of. The Queensland Fire and Rescue Service have a brilliant web page on escape plans that every family should visit in preparation for the unknown, featuring materials that you can print out yourself for inclusion in your emergency kit. Evacuation plans are of course relevant all year round, and not just for incidents where fire and smoke is an issue.
It’s important to discuss all these things with your Brisbane Kids, especially in advance of the upcoming stormy times. Your priority is to ensure everyone in your household is happy and healthy, and extreme weather is a known component of our Queensland existence. Armed with the right information, coupled with pre-emptive coaching of your children, you’ll be able to tackle unexpected conditions in a calm and sensible manner. The result might even be that your Brisbane Kids will learn to like storms, and to see the beauty in the way lightning brings an otherwise dark sky to life at night—besides, who doesn’t like going to sleep with the pitter-patter of rain on the roof?
Emergency numbers and websites
- Life threatening emergencies 000
- Brisbane City Council provides a fantastic online resource for everything you need to prepare for a potential disaster, regardless of how serious the situation might be. Call them on 3403888 http://www.brisbane.qld.gov.au
- Energex Storm Safety Fact Sheet https://www.energex.com.au/safety/preparing-for-severe-weather/storm-safety-checklist Energex emergencies 13 19 62 Loss of Power 13 62 62
- Down powerlines call 13 12 53.
- SES http://www.emergency.qld.gov.au/ses/ or 13 25 00
- Find out more about the Queensland Early Warning Service
- Translink 13 12 30
- Traffic or road closure updates 13 19 40 or www.13194.com.au
- Go to the Bureau of Meteorology http://www.bom.gov.au/
- Check out the storm chasers on Facebook- search for South Brisbane Storms, Sunshine Coast Weather and Higgins Storm Chasing
- Follow our facebook page. If it all goes down we will do our best to be there with you- filling you in with local information as we receive it.