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Preparing the family

The last step in completing preparations for an emergency is preparing the family. Necessary preparation of the house and supplies for time of emergency can help family members only if they know and practice appropriate reactions.

Preparation of the family consists mainly of a family discussion in five stages. The aim of the discussion is to solidify a family emergency plan in all of its stages, while informing the family members of the threat and means of protection to employ against it, development and enhancement of the family's ability to cope with emergency situations and establishing the family as the central framework for coping and support.
Don't be frightened! The essence of the discussion within the supportive family framework, the way in which it is led, the messages and information presented in the course of the discussion all have the power to strengthen the feeling of ability of the family to cope as a unit. In the following pages we will show in detail how to hold a proper discussion and what to present during the discussion in order that it may achieve these aims

The discussion can jump-start the preparation process and also end it. In families with grown children it is best to hold the discussion at the beginning of the preparation process and in this way involve the entire family in selecting items for the emergency kit, in deciding on a place to store it, in the major considerations involved in choosing the secure room, in dividing the jobs involved in preparing the room, etc. In a young family, it is best that the discussion summarize the preparation and serve primarily for showing the room, the supplies and the other specific subjects.
The discussion should be held with all members of the family present (without excusing teenagers and without agreeing to a second discussion instead of real work!). The discussion should be led by an adult (one or both of the parents). It is possible and desirable to involve the children in the discussion (where there are great differences in the ages of the children the discussion can be broken up so that each one can have a say concerning his own needs and abilities). Give each child his own personal time (not while at the same time doing or talking about something else…) and treat the discussion with the degree of seriousness it deserves. It pays to prepare the discussion in advance, to plan and determine the order in which subjects are to be raised and the important points to be stressed.
The adult should see to it that each child has a chance to speak and that there is an atmosphere of openness and acceptance of personal expression. He should ensure that at the end of the process the family members, and the family itself, come out of it stronger.

The discussion is to be conducted in three stages – opening, contents (consisting of five steps in the preparation) and conclusion:

1. The opening stage – its aim is to coordinate expectations concerning its goals, to define the rules of the discussion so that it proceeds as well as possible. Start by defining (typo in Hebrew) the goals (as indicated above) and proper discussion procedures.

2. The content stage – its aim is to provide the required information and to finalize the emergency in practical terms.

The five steps –
You can use the "five finger" method so that each finger shows one of the five steps of the discussion:

What is the situation?

What should we do?

Where should we meet?

Whom should we notify?

When do we do it again?…

3. The concluding stage – together with the last of the five steps in the content stage (which constitutes an understanding of the information and summarizes the plan and the following stages) it is important to summarize the discussion with a general summary, whose purpose is to distinguish between the people as individuals and the family as a framework, with increased strength. While summarizing a point or two in the discussion, direct the attention of the participants toward the preparations and not toward the emergency!

 Be sure to relate to the unique characteristics of the family. Every household is different in its formation and substance, requiring unique attention (from the elderly member to the infant to – in contrast – internal stairs or puppies). Dealing with what exists and is real will help the members of the family relate emotionally to the subject and will of course ensure the most suitable preparation for your family.
 Make an effort to prepare for most of the different scenarios and situations. Despite the fact that the basic preparation is simple and identical, it pays to avoid clinging to a single simple solution. It is important to consider the eventuality that one or more family members will be absent (especially with respect to the division of tasks among you) as an event unfolds, and the like.
 Always try to explain the idea behind the considerations, even when talking to small children. It's best to do this by means of directed questions. In this way you
 will ensure that if the action you decided on in the family discussion is no longer possible, the considerations that you expressed will help you to find a suitable alternative solution.
 Not that non-verbal messages have great importance and effect when delivered in the course of the discussion. Steady, determined parental behavior has the power to strengthen the family immeasurably.
 Take pains to give expression and legitimacy to the concerns or fears of your children. Don't suppress exposure of their anxieties – they may give the family members a reference point for comparing what is happening within them, and the feeling of "normality" – It's not just I who think, feel, or am behaving this way, but everyone in the family." Talk with the children, listen to the feelings, give them short, believable answers. Use words and concepts from a world of content that is familiar to them and that they understand.
 Throughout the discussion impart a message of confidence, coping and togetherness ("we are together in this").
 Emphasize the fact that preparation in advance means that the family is better prepared and that in time of need being prepared can mean saving lives. Explain to the children that you are raising the subject in order to assure their safety in potential situations and not as preparation for a particular event.