Weather Awareness Week

Severe Weather Awareness Week caught me a little off guard this year. I didn’t know that it was tornado safety day until I heard the sirens in the middle of nap time. Typically on this day each year I practice a tornado drill with my children and discuss other severe weather situations in detail with each child at his level. This year, three of my four children were sound asleep, so I decided to postpone our drill.

In our area, the civil defense sirens are tested monthly. Because of this, I discuss tornadoes with my children every time we hear the sirens being tested but only practice the drill on this day each year. I make sure to explain each time the difference between the test and a real warning. Since they don’t know the difference, they must always assume it is a real warning unless I tell them otherwise.

If my children can navigate the stairs going down into our basement, they have specific instructions on what to do when they hear the civil defense sirens.

For my two-year old-His instructions are to go into the basement and if Mommy isn’t there, yell so Mommy knows where he is.

For my four-year old-His instructions are to help his little brother and himself into the basement and if Mommy isn’t there, yell so Mommy knows where they are.

For my six-year old-His instructions are... If Mommy isn’t there, get his baby sister and carry her into the basement while verbally encouraging his brothers to go downstairs themselves. Keep his sister and brothers in a safe place in the basement. Or, if Mommy is around, then help his brothers into the basement.

I also talk to my older children about what to do if they are in different locations when they hear the civil defense siren and what to do in other severe weather situations. I start preparing my children as soon as they are mobile.

How do you prepare your children for severe weather? At what age do you start preparing them?


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