Life in California means that there’s a chance that you might encounter an earthquake. Shortly after the volcanic eruption and the 6.9 magnitude earthquake in Hawaii, a 4.5 magnitude earthquake hit Southern California last Tuesday early morning.
To help elementary students in school stay prepared, students are required to pack emergency earthquake kits, also known as emergency comfort kits, at the start of every new school year. These kits include a family photo, a letter from mom and dad, some wet wipes, some non-perishable snacks and drinks, some warm clothing, a small flashlight, and a small whistle. Some parents also pack toys or stuffed animals, or even playing cards for their kids.
These emergency comfort kits are an important part of handling emergency situations in elementary schools in the United States in case any disaster or extreme crises were to occur. If any campus goes on lockdown, the teachers immediately hand out the emergency kit to their students.
While some people hesitate and wonder if this kit is really necessary, we found a letter from a mother and father to their child. It was as follows:
If you are reading this letter from Mom and Dad, then this means that there must have been an emergency while you were at school. We know emergencies can be scary, but the good thing is that it will all be over soon, and everything will be okay. Things will get better.
Please try to be brave, and even helpful to your classmates and teachers if you can.
We are doing everything we can to make sure we can be together again soon. Once this is over, we will be there to pick you up.
Did you get to look inside your bag yet? Your favorite snacks, toys, and even our family photo from last summer’s camping trip are all inside. Listen to your teacher, be patient, and remember that we love you and are thinking of you.
Love,Mom and Dad
Children at different ages react differently to disasters
According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), a child’s reaction to a disaster or traumatic event can vary by age.
0-2 years old: They still can’t express their feelings through words or describe how they feel. The one thing they can do is cry, so they may cry more than usual, and all they want is to be held or cuddled.
3-6 years old: Children at this age feel powerless or helpless in traumatizing and overwhelming events. Since they are so young, they are unable to protect themselves or other people which causes them to feel even more fear and anxiety when they’re separated from their caregivers.
7-10 years old: Children at this age understand loss. They may talk about the situation constantly because that’s their one way of coping. Their reactions can range from feeling sad or scared, to guilty or even angry because they were unable to prevent this situation and because there was nothing they could have done to stop the incident from happening. They picture a lot of various scenarios in their mind and might have trouble concentrating.
Educating kids about disaster prevention and emergency preparedness can allow children to stay aware and be prepared for any kind of emergency or disaster that could occur at any time. Allowing children to participate in family emergency disaster prevention plans can help children feel calm, confident, and in control of the situation if an event were to occur. This can also help them better protect themselves and their loved ones.
Emergency Prevention Education in Japan – The Kamaishi Earthquake
Educating kids on disaster prevention and emergency preparedness in Japan is pretty intense. It’s less of showing them what to do, but more of how to teach children to analyze and form their own thoughts and decisions, and how to take direct action.
At around 2:46pm on March 11, 2011, an earthquake with a magnitude of 9.0 hit Kamaishi, causing a tsunami. The disaster caused nearly 19,000 deaths, and a total of 2,926 elementary and junior high school students were in danger. However, among those students, 2,921 evacuees fled to safety, leaving a survival rate of 99.8%. Many called it “the miracle of Kamaishi”, bringing hope to many people.
It was reported that the junior high students ran out to higher ground immediately after the earthquake struck. Their action caused many other children and teachers to follow. The older students helped out the younger students, pulling them up and helping them until they reached from one safe location to the next safe location. Just 30 seconds after, the tsunami covered the previous safe location they were at, swallowing their schools and the town. The middle school students encountered children in a nursery school and they fit four to five children in one cart and kept pushing forward.
This was the result of years and years of raising awareness and educating students in disaster prevention. If an earthquake hit California today, what would you do? Are you prepared? Would you be able to survive? Have you, your family, or your friends ever talked about what to do in an emergency? Parents, have you ever discussed with your children what they should do if both parents are not around?
It’s important to sit down with your friends and family, and prepare an emergency comfort kit in case of any emergencies.
KCAL is giving away free emergency blankets! Visit any of our branches today to get a free emergency blanket. Not only is it small, but it’s also light and easy to carry! It keeps you warm and is beneficial for camping and for any disasters. From now until the end of May, get your free emergency blanket today! Limited quantities available. First come, first serve.