As the kids return to school, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) and local emergency management agencies encourage parents to include emergency preparedness in their back-to-school plans.
Here are some tips for parents to consider:
- Find out where the kids will be taken during an evacuation during school hours.
- Ensure your emergency contact information is on file at your child’s school.
- Pre-authorize a friend or relative to pick up your kids in an emergency, and make sure the school knows who that designated person is.
- Teach kids with cell phones about ‘Text First, Talk Later.’ Short, simple text messages, such as “R U OK?” and “I’m OK,” are more likely to get through than a phone call if phone service is unavailable immediately following an emergency. As phone congestion eases, you can follow up with a phone call to relay more information.
Students headed off to college also need to be prepared for emergencies. While doing back-to-school shopping, consider picking up the essential items for an emergency preparedness kit. You can find a list of emergency kit essentials online at www.ready.illinois.gov.
Many college campuses also offer email and text messages to alert students of potential dangers, such as severe weather and other threats. Encourage your college student to sign-up for such alerts. Some colleges also provide alert messages for parents so they also are aware of potential dangers on campus. In addition, make sure your student knows the emergency plans for their dorm or apartment building.
If you have questions on school and campus preparedness, contact the Carbondale Office of Emergency Management at 618-457-3245.