Weathering the Storm Safely
Twinn Palms recognizes the impact that natural disasters; hurricanes, wildfires, and earthquakes can have on families and their homes. Similarly, we understand that many of our international students may have never weathered these types of storms before. This month’s Twinn Palms in the News article is dedicated to our families and international students who have been impacted by our bad weather lately. The following information is provided on behalf of Twinn Palms as a way to talk to your families and host students about how to stay safe during a natural disaster or bad weather.
Note: The topics provided are not meant to replace weather safety discussions, but rather enhance the conversations that you are already having with your families and host students. Twinn Palms encourages anyone who may feel ill-prepared to discuss such matters with their students to contact their local coordinators for more information.
In the meantime, please consider discussing some of the following topics:
Have a Bad Weather Plan
Have you and your family discussed what to do in case of a natural disaster or bad weather? If not, talk to your family and host students and make one together. Get input from everyone and make sure everyone agrees to the plan. Review often, set up emergency phone numbers and safe locations and let others know about your plan.
Prepare Emergency Kits
Both FEMA and the Red Cross urge all households to have plenty of emergency supplies for all individuals and animals living within the residence. Depending on the age of the dependents within your home, consider putting together emergency backpacks containing essential items, such as: medications, sanitary items, food and water, extra clothing, first aid kits, contact information, flashlights and other safety gear, and bedding. These items can be tailored to every age level, whether human or pet, and safely stowed into backpacks for everyone. Additional emergency supplies may be housed in other containers or bags to be carried by adults.
Prepare Weather Kits
In addition to emergency supplies, consider what might keep children and teenagers occupied in a house without electricity. Items such as: candles, board games, books, snacks, blankets, and flashlights are great to have in these kits. When power is out and electronics are not working, whip out these items and have family gatherings geared toward non-technology based fun. Not only does it keep them occupied and brings everyone together; but it keeps their minds off of the natural disaster happening right outside their home.
Hold regular family meetings where open conversation and sharing of emotions is a normal occurrence. Be aware that some international students have never been through natural disasters common to where you live. This is the time to instill the importance of expressing feelings and emotions, so that if something does happen, they are more likely to talk about how they are feeling and allow you to support them through the experience. Experts say that this type of conversation must be done on a regular basis in order to have a positive and lasting effect. For more ideas on how to instill conversation with your student, read this month’s main article: Establishing an Environment for Open Communication.
Ultimately, seeking support from your coordinator for additional ideas on how best to support your families and host students is the best option. Twinn Palms recognizes the severity of the recent events in our country and express our deepest concern and love for our hosting community.