Be Prepared in September September 10 2009
Okay, maybe not. But I'm all for being prepared, and your possible disaster is dependent on where you currently live. For us in the Northwest, it's gonna be an earthquake, aka THE BIG ONE. And let's not forget possible terrorist attacks or the Swine Flu...
So we can all benefit from a little preparedness. My personal tips to be classroom ready?
A Basic Emergency Kit
There are a few basic products that will help in any emergency situation. A clipboard with an attendance list of your students, along with notes of any special needs. A crank flashlight (preferably with a radio and a blinking red light). A comprehensive First Aid Kit. Some travel-sized games or decks of cards (to use in case of long wait times). Boxes of cereal or granola bars to use as snacks.
Take a brief inventory to see if you have these basic items, and if not, start shopping for them at liquidation and bargain stores - I found several items in stores likes these for cheap, and in brand new condition. Pack your classroom emergency supplies in a medium sized tote and place it off to the side, but also where it's easily accessible. If you haven't had to use it by the end of the school year, celebrate by eating the snacks out of it!
Emergency plans of varying degrees are practiced in school districts across the nation. What particular plans are in place at your school, besides the monthly Fire Drill? Are there lockdown drills? Earthquake drills? What if something happens to you? Will your students know what to do?
As you begin the school year, there will be times of reviewing these procedures; but while it's on your mind, make a note in your lesson plans to review them one or two additional times during the year and run some drills of your own.
We all could use practice before an emergency actually happens, and when we're better informed, we're less scared. Make emergency preparedness apart of your curriculum. Ready.gov and Discovery Kids are two places that have a variety of information and downloadable materials for classroom use. In addition, Asiaing.com has a coloring book for children, downloadable for free (the link is kind of small, underneath the ads). Show your students where your classroom emergency kit is located and discuss its purpose. Encourage your students to become better prepared at home as well.
An emergency can happen at any time, including with a classroom of students. A few simple preparations will help ease your mind, and the process will help pass some important information on to your students and their families.