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Ready Arlington: Summer Emergency Preparedness For Families

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This biweekly column is sponsored by the Arlington Office of Emergency Management.

The end of the school year is fast approaching for many Arlington families. Judging by the number of “OBX” stickers on the back of local minivans and other family haulers, parents around Arlington have that trip to the beach, summer camp for the kids, or a week of playing tourist on staycation planned at this point.

As emergency managers, we have similar plans, but we’re always thinking about contingencies. Common events like a severe thunderstorm or major traffic accident can quickly alter the day’s plan and sometimes evening plans. Here are some thoughts about family preparedness potential chaos this summer.

For vacations, summer camp and other family options over the summer, parents who have been through the end of the school year process before may remember tumbling into a new daily routine of altered timelines in the morning and evening. This can often occur week after week and in an emergency, it is hard to remember simple things such as new contact numbers or find a list allergies or prescription information.

Summer Camp

There seems to be an endless number of summer camp options for Arlington kids (including HERricane), though they fill up quickly. Summer camp checklists usually include a quick list:

  • Backpack (labeled with name and phone)
  • Lunch and snack (nut-free)
  • Water bottle
  • Sunblock
  • Insect Repellent
  • Change of clothes for younger campers
  • Plastic bag (wet clothing)

Depending on the type of summer camp, other items may be on the list, and these camps typically have emergency contact information and health histories submitted during registration. Outside of camp, these items are a good starting place to ensure your child has a baseline go-bag. Parents may consider including a hard copy of the family emergency plan and a small bag with band-aids and other first aid items.

Home for the Summer / Staycation

There are many child care scenarios at home during the summer. Staying with grandparents, or at home with nannies and child care providers is a common summer solution for working families. Add their numbers to your Arlington Alert account, or better yet, have them sign up for Arlington Alert. In addition to your phone number(s) these trusted individuals need an adult oriented family communications plan, so they can reach parents or help give doctors and emergency responders important information.

This also applies to parents staying home with the kids. Mom or dad may be home with a slate of activities and field trips for the kids, but in the event of a tornado, will everyone know where to shelter during a tornado, or be able to return home a different way.

Vacation

Heading to the beach? Preparing for kids will be similar to the summer camp, especially when it comes to sunblock. If this is a road trip, car kits should already have things like emergency blankets, a flashlight, a few water bottles and jumper cables. Not all people plan ahead, so note pharmacies, grocery and convenience store locations close to the beach (look for seagulls), and remember to print an extra hard copy of the family communications plan for the glove compartment.

For more information, please visit www.readyarlington.com.

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