Separated from my child during a natural disaster

Hilary Anderson, American Red Cross Preparedness and Resiliency Manager, shares advice for parents on what to do if you become separated from your child during a natural disaster
What To Do If Separated From Child During A Natural Disaster
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Separated from my child during a natural disaster

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If there's a natural disaster and your kids are at school, the first step for any parent or guardian is to find out what the school's plan is. Some schools will not release the children to the parents or guardians right away following an emergency. You need to know what the school's emergency plan is, with the contact information--how you'll be notified--and if the school has resources to be able to keep your kids or shelter in place during an emergency. The first step being finding out what the plan is at the school, because if the plan is that they won't release the kids right away, then you need to know that; you won't panic right away and try to go over there and get them; but if the plan is that they only have them check in, and that then they'll be released to the parents or the guardians, then you know that one of your priorities is to get to the school first. Decide what your plan is now--take the school's plan into place when you're considering how you'll respond--and make sure everyone knows what that is. Your children--they practice regularly; kids practice fire drills and earthquake drills more than adults do, so that is more normal for them. You need to know how they're going to react too. Are they calm? Do they know to go to the teacher? Do they know what the release plan is? If you're at work while your children are at school, it's important to know the school's plan and to make sure that those parents, guardians--people who are a part of your plan--know what the school's plan is as well, because we're all in this together, and we need to know what to do to make sure that we get our families out safely.

Hilary Anderson, American Red Cross Preparedness and Resiliency Manager, shares advice for parents on what to do if you become separated from your child during a natural disaster

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Hilary Anderson, MA

American Red Cross

Hilary Anderson has been with the American Red Cross for the past three and a half years as a volunteer and staff member in positions with communications, disaster relief, development and volunteer services. As the Preparedness and Resiliency Manager, her primary responsibility is the delivery of educational programming across the Los Angeles region to get individuals, schools, businesses and organizations prepared for a disaster. As a dog owner, she also hopes to get your pets ready too! Hilary has a master’s degree in International Policy Studies with an emphasis in humanitarian assistance as well as a bachelor’s degree in International Relations, Journalism and German. She has worked for non-profits abroad in Israel, Bolivia and Germany focusing on grant writing, youth and education and also feeding and sheltering. 

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