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Emergency Perparedness in Children

In the summer of 2019, Highlands County 4-H partnered with the Highlands County Emergency Operations Center to host the first Emergency Preparedness in Children day camp or as well like to call it E.P.I.C. This week long program offered middle and high school youth the opportunity to learn how to be prepared for disasters and ways that they could better serve their community during that time. Youth worked hand and hand with police officers, firefighters, paramedics, and other disaster essential personnel to gain skills that would better prepare them for a variety of emergencies. Through a hands-on learning approach, participants learned how to use a fire extinguisher to put out a live flame, practiced hands only CPR, and learned to apply tourniquets to stop bleeding.  Of all the lessons taught during this camp the most applicable may be their ability to stock their emergency buckets.

Emergency Preparedness Buckets

While we ran through various disaster scenarios with the youth including, hurricanes and the potential of a pandemic, we stressed the importance of having an emergency preparedness bucket. This bucket would hold critical supplies needed to survive an emergency. Each youth was given a five gallon bucket to stuff with the provided recommended supplies (not including personal items such as clothing and medication) and were allowed to keep the buckets for their own personal use. Many of these youth have gone on to provide training at the 4-H club meetings to cover the importance of having a Emergency Preparedness bucket ready at all times.

Supplies for Your Own Emergency Preparedness Bucket

First Aid kit with tweezers
Three changes of under garments
Mask
Three changes of clothing
Hand Sanitizer
Poncho
Laundry bag
Razor/shaving crème
Paper towels
Toothbrush & paste
Toilet paper
Dental floss
Garbage bags with twist ties
Comb/brush
Sewing kit
Bar soap
Flashlight & batteries
Feminine care products
Light stick
Towel/wash cloth
Matches
Shampoo/conditioner
Whistle
Deodorant
Work gloves
Kleenex
Reading & sunglasses
Wet towelettes
Reading materials
Lip balm
Word puzzle book
Eye glass lens cleaner
Note pad with pen & pencil
Sunscreen
Collapsible drinking cup
Disposable camera
Snacks
Water shoes or flip flops
Medication

A Lesson for Our Current Situation

While filling the emergency preparedness buckets, many of the participants figured that they wouldn’t need them until hurricane season and maybe not even then. When you live in South Florida, you are used to experiencing close calls with hurricanes and may take for granted some of the everyday luxuries that we have such as toilet paper. Our current situation with COVID-19 has taught us that we need to always be prepared for the unexpected. We are in unprecedented times, where people are panic buying; leaving shortages of food and household essentials like toilet paper, paper towels, and hand sanitizer. If you participated in the E.P.I.C. day camp, this is a reminder that you have a secret stash of the essentials. Now is your time to let your bucket shine, but don’t forget to restock it so you will be prepared for the next emergency.

 

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