How to Prepare your Children for an Evacuation

Prepare your Children for an EvacuationPrepare your Children for an Evacuation

People don’t realize just how adaptable children can be when they’re thrown into an emergency situation like an evacuation. That being said, it’s always best to prepare your children for an evacuation as much as you can beforehand.

Here are some great ways to prepare your children for an evacuation without worrying them unduly.

When you’re a child, life is an adventure, and that’s pretty much how you need to prepare them for an evacuation. It’s imperative you don’t let your fear and anxiety show because children pick up on that very easily.

– Start by organizing some impromptu camping trips.

This is when you don’t tell your children in advance that you’re going. If they’re asleep then wake them up earlier than you normally would and tell them you’re going camping. They may moan and groan a little about being woken up but try your best to be excited and positive.

– Get your kids used to understanding what essentials you’re taking with you on the trip.

You could even make it into a game by pointing out individual items and asking them what they are and what they’re for. Give them points for guessing them correctly and reward them with a pack of cards, coloring book and the like.

– Whilst you’re out camping it’s important you involve them with survival skills.

Depending on their age you’ll want to show them things like: how to pitch a tent, how to make fire and also how to fish. These are all essential survival skills that will make the trip interesting for them.

– If your kids are used to being taken from A to B in a car you’ll want to get them used to moving quickly whilst carrying a back pack.

Obviously you don’t want to load them down with anything too heavy, but they should be able to walk around the block a few times with a small backpack. Take your children out regularly to do this. Once again, you want to make this an interesting walk – ask them what they can see; use a map and compass to add more education to your outing. This will get them used to navigation.

The most important tactic to implement when trying to prepare your children for an evacuation is to actually explain what evacuations are and how they can keep people safe. You may want to use a few scenarios and if they go to school they will probably be well aware of emergency practice fire alarms.

Above all else, let them know that emergency times are not a time to be difficult and sulky. They need to get used to the fact that instructions are given for a reason, to ultimately keep them safe and away from danger. The efforts to prepare your children for an evacuation will serve you well when and if an emergency should arise.


This is great info. Sometimes parents are so busy getting ready to evacuate they forget to explain what is going on to the little ones. Great idea to go through a test run with them.


I totally agree, but I’m sure my suggestions could be expanded. I’m going to look further into this topic and see what I can come up with.


Yes, Vishal, you’re right. If you can get the information to children to correspond to their level of understanding, it helps a lot.

Roy A Ackerman, PhD, EA

I remember learning how to exit my house if a fire erupted. (Unfortunately, I blew up the house first- and my mom loved to ignite the kitchen). We trained our children how to exit the windows (they were on the first floor [below grade in front of the home, ground level on the rear] and the fourth floor- via chain stairs) when they were little. thankfully, they never needed those skills. But, they did need to know where and how to go for tornadoes!


Sounds like an adventurous life, Roy. And yes, whether they use the training or not, it’s very important that they know what to do. Hopefully, when and if they have children of their own, they’ll know to show them what to do as well.

Susan Landry

This illustrates a great point for parenting, in general…we need to talk to our kids about expectations! Whether it’s how I expect you to behave in a store we’re going in to , or what to do in a tornado or other emergency. Preparing kids for situations ahead of time makes everything go smoother.


Absolutely, Susan. We can sometimes assume things – such as , “oh they learned that at school”, when in fact they might have been taught fire drills, but not things like how to be safe during a tornado.


Great info here: “The most important tactic to implement when trying to prepare your children for an evacuation is to actually explain what evacuations are and how they can keep people safe.”

When our kids were little, I also put something yummy for them. So if we had to use that food, there would be some nice food. I also put a few games with that food. If/when we had a emergency, we could still have fun!


Makes perfect sense to me, Ruthanne. Little ones can get pretty restless, regardless of what’s going on. Having something on hand as a treat and some games to entertain them could make a huge difference in a trying time.


Great idea to go on an impromptu camping trip! That’s the perfect way to test out your evacuation box/tote as well as introduce the kids to the practical steps of evacuating.

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