Everyone in the house should have a small getaway bag, ready for evacuation, including your children. In addition to essential emergency items, this bag should contain:

  • personal items (towels, soap, toothbrush, sanitary items)
  • a change of clothes.

Essential emergency items for children

A getaway bag for your children should also include:

  • a recent family photograph
  • an emergency card which explains where to meet up and gives out-of-area contacts
  • a favourite toy, game or book.

Emergency planning with your children

Include your children in family discussions and planning for emergency safety.

  • Teach your children their basic personal information so they can identify themselves and get help if they become separated from a parent or guardian.
  • Prepare an emergency card with information for each child, including his/her full name, address, phone number, parents’ work and mobile numbers and out-of-area contacts.
  • Know the policies of the school or daycare centre your children attend. Make plans to have someone pick them up if you are unable to get to them.
  • Regularly update your child's school with current emergency contact information and persons authorised to pick up your child from school.
  • Make sure each child knows the family's alternate meeting place if you are separated in a disaster and cannot return to your home.
  • Make sure each child knows how to reach your family's out-of-area contact person.
  • Teach children to dial their home telephone number, and 1-1-1 in an emergency.
  • Teach children what gas smells like and advise them to tell an adult if they smell gas after an emergency.
  • Warn children never to touch wires on poles or lying on the ground.
  • Role play with children to help them remain calm in emergencies and to practice basic emergency responses such as evacuation routes, 'drop, cover and hold' (during earthquakes) and 'stop, drop and roll' (if their clothing is on fire).
  • Role play with children to help them understand what they should do if a parent is suddenly sick or injured.
  • Role play with children on what to say when calling 1-1-1 in an emergency.